October 11, 2023

Unveiling the Power of Research Characteristics: Unlocking the Potential for Impactful Discoveries

A New Blog Series Exploring Research Characteristics from Sean Newell

Welcome to our blog series on research impact! In this series, we will explore the fascinating world of research characteristics and their role in shaping the effectiveness and reach of scholarly endeavours. Research impact goes beyond the boundaries of academia, extending its influence to society, policy, and practice. By understanding and harnessing the power of research characteristics, we can unlock the potential for transformative discoveries that address real-world challenges and create lasting change.

In June I presented a novel approach to the way the research community and the general public can talk about research impact using plain language. I proposed a framework of nine characteristics which can be applied to impactful research, regardless of discipline.

What are Research Characteristics?

Research characteristics refer to a set of essential attributes that contribute to the impact and effectiveness of research outcomes. These characteristics act as guiding principles, helping researchers in their pursuit of knowledge and providing a framework for evaluating the potential societal relevance and applicability of their work.

Throughout this series, we will dive into each research characteristic in detail, examining its significance, real-world examples, challenges, and strategies for enhancing its presence in research activities. Together, we will explore the following research characteristics:

1. Significance: Investigating the importance of research in addressing significant societal issues and advancing knowledge in a particular field.

2. Reach: Understanding the extent to which research findings can influence and benefit diverse audiences, communities, or sectors.

3. Tangibility: Exploring the practicality and applicability of research outcomes, allowing for tangible changes in policy, practice, or everyday life.

4. Novelty: Emphasizing the generation of new knowledge, innovative approaches, and ground-breaking insights that challenge existing paradigms.

5. Durability: Assessing the long-term impact and sustainability of research outcomes, ensuring their continued relevance and influence over time.

6. Collaboration: Recognizing the power of collaboration and interdisciplinary partnerships in fostering holistic and comprehensive research outcomes.

7. Transferability: Examining the adaptability and generalizability of research findings, methodologies, or interventions across different contexts and populations.

8. Policy Relevance: Investigating the alignment between research and policy needs, facilitating evidence-based decision-making and policy improvements.

9. Engagement: Emphasizing the active involvement of stakeholders throughout the research process, fostering shared ownership, and maximizing the real-world impact of research outcomes.

Why Focus on Research Characteristics?

Research characteristics provide a comprehensive framework for understanding and evaluating the potential impact of scholarly work, in a consistent manner, independent of research discipline. By consciously incorporating and enhancing these characteristics, researchers can amplify the influence of their findings, increase their relevance to societal needs, and foster meaningful change. Furthermore, funders, policymakers, and stakeholders can utilize these characteristics to assess the potential of research projects, allocate resources effectively, and maximize the return on investment for societal benefit. Most of all everybody, including the general public, will be able to understand what we mean when we talk about the impact of research.

Other Blog Posts in This Series

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