May 26, 2020

What Defines Maximum Impact for a Research Study?

Credibility in a research study is important, but so is the impact of the information obtained. To reach “maximum impact” is an ambiguous term in itself, but through contextual analysis, a consistent framework can be understood to help guide the determination. Research and impact go hand-in-hand, and the aim for all scholars attempting to compile data for eventual output is to make maximum impact.
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Scholarly research has a consistent aim, regardless of the topic in question: The researcher hopes that, through their work, their audience will be impacted by the results. But what does the term “impacted” mean? Because of the importance of this factor on the credibility of a researcher, it has become necessary for a guideline to be used to determine the full definition and scope of “impact” in research. 

The term “impact” itself has a wide connotation. It is used to refer to the effect of a study on academic success, the change made on a societal measure due to the results, and a variety of other measurements. The clear, unyielding variable is that for all research to have made an impact on the audience, it has to have value and garner change.

Where Data Drives Impact

Research studies analyze both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of whatever is being discussed. The results of these studies and their ability to evoke a change must be measured accurately.

To this end, data is used as the determinant of the impact of a study as much as possible. Organizations use data to monitor the study and those who use it, understand how the research was used to make a contribution, and then follow up with that data to disseminate to further audiences as necessary. 

The data is also used to hold the researcher accountable. In many studies, there are stakeholders who have a vested interest in the accuracy and impact of the work performed. Whether it was simply the reputability of the research team or the end results, the stakeholder has a need to prove that the research was accurate and impactful; therefore, the data drives these factors.

Beyond the reputability and results, the credibility and impact can be used further to inform funding decisions. Should the data clearly state that further research or change is necessary for a societal contribution to be met, those with the funding capabilities can use the research to choose to make it occur.

Using Impact to Determine Credibility

Maximum impact in a research study determines the credibility of everyone who had a stake in the study and results. The importance of this means a framework had to be developed to guide the definition of “maximum impact.”

Multiple frameworks are used around the world, but they usually contain common elements, such as:

●      The incorporation of academic and societal impact as beneficial

●      The use of tracework to follow the results of the research to its ultimate final use

●      An overview of the interactions that occur between the researchers and stakeholder to remove potential bias

●      The documentation of financial exchanges between stakeholders and research teams as well as further organizations that use the data to generate impact

●      Follow up studies that are implemented due to the results of the data and the ultimate impact of those studies on academia and societal reform 

The combination of these factors helps apply the qualitative and quantitative aspect to maximum impact of a study beyond the immediate parameters.

Measures Used to Assess Impact

Measuring impact, even through these framework factors, continues to be a complex endeavor. Factors such as relevancy, timing, and length of study can contribute to the overall answer. Some studies require longer periods of research to ensure the data is valid, while others are based on matters that have time-sensitive urgency in order to be relevant.

Through analysis of case study material, bibliometric data, compilations of how the information obtained is used, and speaking with those who have been impacted by the research, an overall idea of the effect can be seen. With a nod to the fact that the numbers are important but a focus on the overall engagement with the other researchers and those in the targeted audience, a scholar can increase the impact of their work to its maximum potential.

Taking the Final Step With Impactio

Regardless of how relevant your data is, or how impactful it could be, if you can’t get the information to your targeted audience, it’s going to remain irrelevant. In order to be considered impactful, a study must bring about a change, which means it must be developed properly at the end, using a variety of methods to get the conclusion across to the readers.

With Impactio, your research can be compiled and sorted into multiple professional displays, including text and graphic formats. The final product is assimilated into a PDF document or prepared for web page presentations. Professional citations, access to a large community of other experts, and an easy to use platform make Impactio the go-to program to help your research make the maximum impact possible.

Tags Academic Impact Research
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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