Impact and evaluation can be interlinked, but they have subtly different implications. Evaluation is frequently focused on the outcomes of an activity, which can often be obvious and immediate, whereas impact would imply there has been some longer-term influence or change. In research communication we have an interest in both how evaluation can be designed to factor in outcomes and impacts, but also how the evaluation of research communication activities can itself support evidence of the impact of research. This chapter explores such themes providing advice to researchers on how to evaluate and consider impact in the context of their research communication activities.
The chapter focuses on ethics from a broad perspective, considering two main approaches. Firstly, the chapter considers ethics from a communication and engagement standpoint, how to engage with participants ethically, incorporate informed consent procedures, consider any data that are collected, used and stored, give participants access to further information and follow any relevant ethical guidelines. Secondly, the chapter explores wider questions regarding the ethics of communication and participation. Is communication about research just about generating publicity? What new ethical questions are emerging with communication and engagement approaches? Does research communication need its own code of practice?
The chapter highlights not only why it is important to share best practice with the research communication community, but also how readers might further disseminate their work though approaches like reports, conferences, publication and professional networks. It considers the ‘conundrum’ of communicating about research communication or engaging about engagement. The chapter finishes with a short summary of the key points of the book and some final encouraging, motivational, and confidence building insights that will enable readers to make the best use of the approaches outlined.