Measuring the Impact of Community-University Research Partnership Structures: a case study of the Office of Community-Based Research at the University of Victoria




Lall, Nirmala

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This research study focused on measuring the impact of structures that support community-university research partnerships. The broad research question asked: How can we determine the impact of community-university research partnership support structures such as the Office of Community Based Research at the University of Victoria, within the university and within local, regional, national and international communities? Methods of inquiry included: participatory research, institutional ethnography and case study. These are among an increasing number of research approaches consistent with what is called engaged scholarship. Congruent with the methods of inquiry, methods of investigation included: in-context immersion, participant-observer-listener, use of available documents and information, use of an impact assessment framework prototype designed pre-data collection, key informant interviews, field notes, research journaling and the writing process. Data contributing to this study were drawn from key informant interviews. Interview participants were situated within local, regional, national and international communities. Methods of analysis included: a two-pronged approach to organising data, deductive and inductive approaches, the lens of praxis, and the prototype as an analytical framework. Assessment as praxis is proposed as broad analytic framework. Theory was constructed through data analysis. This study’s data and analysis point to impact assessment as a cycle of inquiry and eight elements that inform impact on and through community life and impact on and through the university. The proposed Impact Assessment and Measurement Framework (IAMF) includes eight elements: coupling intention with impact, spheres of impact, categories of impact, conditions of impact, points of impact, impact-focused documentation, multiple perspectives of impact, and impact assessment and measurement statements. Contributions of this study include: recognition of staff who support community-university research partnerships through their varied work spaces, research councils as a type of support structure, impact assessment as a cycle of inquiry, explicating impact through elements of impact assessment, and a literature consolidation of impact assessment in the context of support structures. Future research may include revision and refinement of the IAMF across different types of community-university research partnership support structures.



Measuring Impact, Assessing impact, institutional support structures for community-university research partnerships, Community-university research partnerships in higher education, Classifying community-university research partnership support structures, Measurement and assessment tool, Approaches to impact measurement, Assessment evaluation and impact, Impact assessment as praxis, IAMF, Impact Assessment Framework Prototype, Micro meso and macro impact levels, Spheres of impact, Cycle of inquiry, Impact categories, Conditions of impact, Community-university research relationships, Impact assessment and measurement statements, How to measure impact