Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework

image representing Phase 1 Phase 1: Laying the foundations

The key questions you should consider here are:
  • Why do you want to assess the impact of public involvement in your research?
  • Who should be involved in the design and conduct of the impact assessment?
Why are you carrying out an impact assessment?

The reasons people have for assessing the impact of public involvement in their research have implications for the way the assessment is undertaken. You should decide what type of assessments you want to undertake.

  • A formative assessment focuses on improving public involvement processes. Findings are fed back to the team regularly so they can improve these processes.
  • A summative assessment aims to demonstrate the impact of public involvement, for example on recruitment to a study. Findings are reported at the end of the study.
  • A process assessment aims to identify factors affecting the involvement process that may in turn affect the impacts. It can be formative or summative.

Often these types of assessment are used in combination.

Who should be involved in the impact assessment?

It is important to involve everyone in these discussions. In particular you should consider:

  • How members of the public will contribute to the impact assessment. They should definitely be involved in designing the assessment but may contribute in other ways.
  • Whether the assessment should be carried out by members of the project team or by people independent of it. You should think about possible issues of bias and potential conflicts of interest. Having an external assessor may give the findings more credence but this may not be feasible and will also have financial implications.