Five impact types
From previous impact evaluations and other research, we had found that providing a range of impact types to consider often makes people feel ‘liberated’ and ‘authorised’ to go beyond conventionally-sought instrumental changes when searching for their impacts. The five impact types are:
1) Instrumental: changes to plans, decisions, behaviours, practices, actions, policies
2) Conceptual: changes to knowledge, awareness, attitudes, emotions
3) Capacity-building: changes to skills and expertise
4) Enduring connectivity: changes to the number and quality of relationships and
5) Culture/attitudes towards knowledge exchange, and research impact itself
There is no fixed hierarchy or linear sequence inherent in this typology, and all have value in their own right, although the last two, process-based impacts may make other sorts of impacts more likely.
Asking ‘How do we know?’ leads towards gathering of evidence, including recognition of telling indicators of change.