Engaging with research users

The role of engagement and knowledge exchange

Research users are any people, groups, organisations or companies who may be interested in, affected by, or benefit from, your research findings.

Knowledge exchange is a any exchange between researchers and research users—to share experiences, ideas, skills and eventually, findings. It refers to any process through which academics listen to others’ experiences and share their own.

You may engage with different research users in different ways, such as:

  • asking how they define the problems you are interested in (and what solutions they think would work);
  • consulting them in your research process (to ensure that you are asking the right questions);
  • collaborating with them to co-develop your research (and informing them of your findings).

It is important to go beyond traditional modes of dissemination. Research users should play active role in your research.

Building relationships with research users—and maintaining these interactions with them at all stages of the research process—can help to inform and refine future research, engagement and knowledge exchange activities.

These relationships can also provide evidence of impact, expand the reach of your research, and lead to unforeseen opportunities for future collaborations.

Community Engagement: an exploration is self-guided resource developed by the UofG Public & Community Engagement Team. It explores some of the considerations related to engaging with research users.