Measuring health promotion research impact – What researchers think?
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© 2020 Australian Health Promotion Association
Issues addressed: The significant investment in health research has resulted in an increased focus to determine suitable approaches to measure health promotion research impact. This research was undertaken at the request of a nationally competitive research organisation that funds health promotion research, to explore how Chief Investigators (CIs) on their funded projects understood research impact, its measurement and associated challenges.
Methods: Participants were required to be or have been a CI on an Australian competitive research (exploratory or intervention) grant focussed on health promotion. The qualitative study used thematic analysis from one-on-one interviews. Themes were created and descriptive quotes were selected to illustrate the main findings.
Results: The majority of participants were female (n = 13) working at a university (n = 13). Three themes emerged: a) defining health research impact; b) complexity and simplicity of measuring health research impact; c) challenges of measuring health research impact: i) differing language; ii) differing assessment; iii) attribution and timing; and iv) resourcing and skills. Conclusion: Researchers recognised that there are significant challenges in measuring the impact of health promotion research. The most significant factors identified by participants were the disciplinary background of the researchers undertaking the measurement, their skills and experience and the resources (including time) available to assess impact. So what?: Research impact assessment is complex, time consuming and requires specific skills to facilitate measurement of impact provision of funding for this activity in research grants and research impact training is required.
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