Evaluating the impact of science communication

Madelijn Strick (photo right), Anne Land (center) and Ward Peeters (left) form the Impactlab and together they are working on an evaluation toolbox for the NWA that can be used identify and measure the impact of science communication. In this blog you can read more about the workshop and the research project they are organizing as part of the Rewarded! programme.

Who are you and what is your function?

Madelijn Strick, Associate Professor Social Psychology at Utrecht University

In what capacity are you involved in the enrichment program of Appreciated! 

Together with Ward Peeters and Anne Land of the Leiden University, I provide a workshop about measuring the impact of science communication. This workshop is part of a larger research project on this topic, financed by the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA). Besides, I am one of the participants of the enrichment program, because our research group has received Organisatiegedrag.nl has received an award from Appreciated!

What will be discussed during the workshop?

We discuss how you, as a scientist/organizer, can measure the impact of your public engagement activities. We will address the basic principles and added value of impact measurements. There is plenty of room for participants to exchange experiences, bring in their own projects and draw up evaluation plans together.

What are you going to investigate and how?

In the larger research project, we want to examine which factors contribute to a lasting impact of science communication on the knowledge, attitude or behaviour of the public. We ask all research groups that received an Appreciated! award to do an impact measurement at one of their own public activities, using a toolbox developed by us. We also provide practical instruction in the form of knowledge clips. All results of these impact measurements will be combined in a meta-analysis: looking for general patterns in the joint data. We also test the data against existing theories such as those about emotional memory, i.e. the idea that emotional responses from the audience are a prediction for long-lasting impact. We will share the findings with all participating research groups so that we can jointly discuss what the results mean and what we can learn from them.

What is the added value of the toolbox that you developed?

Our toolbox for researchers contains two parts. It has a concise basic measurement with which scientists can measure the direct impact of their science communication and with which they can map long-term effects. In addition, it contains precision tools with which scientists can design a measurement themselves and tailor it to the specific goals and context of their project.

Interested? Register for the workshop (DUTCH) on Friday the 29th of October or send us a message letting us know your interest in an English-spoken edition