Impact arising from sustained public engagement: A measured increase in learning outcomes

James McLaughlin, Lynda Boothroyd, Pete Philipson

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This article details the impact arising from a sustained public engagement activity with sixth-form students (16 to 17 year olds) across two Further Education Colleges during 2012/13. Measuring the impact of public engagement is notoriously difficult. As such, the engagement programme closely followed the recommendations of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) and their guidance for assessing Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014) impact arising from public engagement with research. The programme resulted in multiple impacts as defined by the REF2014 under “Impacts on society, culture and creativity”. Specifically: the beneficiaries’ interest in science was stimulated; the beneficiaries’ engagement in science was improved; their science-related education was enhanced; the outreach programme made the participants excited about the science topics covered; the beneficiaries’ awareness and understanding was improved by engaging them with the research; tentative evidence of an improvement in AS-level grades; indirect evidence of an improvement in student retention. These impacts were evidenced by the user feedback (i.e. sixth-form students) collected from 50 questionnaires (split 16 and 34 across the two Further Education Colleges), as well as testimonies from both the teachers and individual participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-256
JournalResearch for All
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2018


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