B5 - Examining impact measures and evaluation in researcher development activities: Drawing on practice from King’s College London

Day Day 1
Code B5
Start time 16:50
Developing research staff
Developing doctoral researchers
Developing supervisors and principal investigators
In a policy/strategic/leadership role

Dr Kate Murray, Deputy Head, King's Careers & Employability, King's College London

Dr Rachel Handforth, Research and Evaluation Project Manager, CRAC/Vitae

Dr Janet Metcalfe, Head of Vitae

Workshop overview: 

Despite the plethora of research development activities that institutions are undertaking, there is often less discussion about how the impact of these activities can be measured and evaluated. Measuring change and the impact of researcher development initiatives is necessary if we are to highlight areas of improvement and success and share best practice across the sector. This workshop provides an opportunity to discuss ways of measuring impact and undertaking evaluation, and draws on a case study from King’s College London.

King’s College London currently measures careers registration activity amongst their PGR population in order to measure the impact of careers advice on the career readiness of PGRs. Employability activities at King’s College London are designed to fit with students’ self-described ‘career readiness’ phases: Discover, Focus and Action. This information is collected annually at enrolment and careers interventions are designed and promoted to students, including PGRs, taking into account the proportions of students in different phases and research areas. Using a reflective survey issued automatically after a careers intervention, it is possible to track in which phase a client believed themselves to be before the intervention, and where they considered themselves afterwards.

This workshop thus discusses ways of evaluating researcher development activities and invites comparison with other ways of measuring impact.

Themes covered: 

  • Evidence and evaluation of researcher careers and the impact of researcher development

Workshop aims: 

  • Participants will gain insight into how researcher development activities may be designed with specific impact measures, and consider how concepts such as the theory of change model can support evaluation
  • Participants will learn about the use of careers readiness in measuring impact of development interventions at one UK institution

Value for delegates:

By attending this session, delegates will add another piece to the armoury of their impact measures.  It has traditionally been very difficult to assess whether development interventions actually work, and by adapting the methodology of the work at King’s, delegates would be well-equipped to create something similar in their own institutions.  The approach is evidence-based, largely automated after initial set-up, and repeatable.  Additionally, through promoting a discussion of the value of impact measures and evaluation, delegates would feel up to date with current thinking on impact methodologies.