One of my colleagues in Newcastle emailed me this week to ask for some advice – the British Library emailed him to tell him that they are planning to feature a video about his research on their website, and he wondered if he should be doing anything to increase the impact of this opportunity.
I’m publishing my answer here, because versions of this question are surprisingly common, and so I hope others might benefit too…
Depending on the time you have available, there are two things you could do to deepen and evaluate the impact from this opportunity. First is the opportunity to deepen and extend the impact, and second is the opportunity to evaluate the impact.
Deepening the impact: Do you have your own website linked to the material in the videos? If so, can you revamp this so that it will appeal to the audience you think will be watching the videos, and ask them to put a link to your website next to the videos? You’ll need to think of something that people will get if they come to your website before people will actually click on the link though, so consider if you have some free materials you can make available, additional resources, quizes or the like, and get them to tell people to visit your site for those things. Then when people arrive at the site (or the landing page you create for those visiting from British Library) you can engage them more deeply in the issues you’re working on, in an attempt to increase the likelihood that there are learning/awareness/understanding impacts arising from the work. Also have a think about whether there might be some deeper or wider impacts you’d like to get, for example, do you want to change attitudes? Might you want people to change their behaviour as a result of what they learn, or take some sort of action that would benefit them or others? Can you design some content that takes them to that deeper place?
Evaluating the impact: there are two ways you might be able to get evaluation data once people are on your site. I’m personally not keen on pop-up surveys and the like, so instead I would try and design a fun quiz based on what they learned in the videos that incorporates some questions that ask about the benefits they have got from engaging with the resources (if nothing else that demonstrates learning). The other thing you can do is to create an incentive for people to sign up to an email list. Again, you’ll need to think about what might be something of value to them, that you could offer in return for signing up. Now, you have the opportunity to email them with other content and engagement opportunities to further deepen the engagement, and you can send a survey to them to find out more via email, later on. The advantage of this is that you get longitudinal data about what happened next, rather than just how people felt at the time. You can see the sort of thing I ask people I train after 6 months as part of my own impact evaluation here for inspiration (though you’d need to ask different questions). If you’re struggling to come up with relevant questions, do a focus group with a few people who have engaged with your work to find out how they’ve benefited, and use what you find to populate your survey. As part of this, you can ask open questions that might tell you about benefits you’d have never thought of asking about, as well as the closed answer questions. At the end, have the option to opt into a future interview, so you can then follow-up with a sample by phone interview to probe more deeply. Finally, think about how and where you write up your findings – publishing them on your blog might not look as credible as publishing them in a British Library newsletter for example, or on their blog.
Get in touch with me if you have a question of your own, and I’ll do my best to answer – and I may share it with others here!