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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 2;10(4):e0121874. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121874. eCollection 2015.

Mapping public engagement with research in a UK University.

Author information

1
Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.
2
Faculty of Science, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Notwithstanding that 'public engagement' is conceptualised differently internationally and in different academic disciplines, higher education institutions largely accept the importance of public engagement with research. However, there is limited evidence on how researchers conceptualise engagement, their views on what constitutes engagement and the communities they would (or would not) like to engage with. This paper presents the results of a survey of researchers in the Open University that sought to gather data to fill these gaps. This research was part of an action research project designed to embed engagement in the routine practices of researchers at all levels. The findings indicate that researchers have a relatively narrow view of public engagement with research and the communities with which they interact. It also identified that very few strategically evaluate their public engagement activities. We conclude by discussing some of the interventions we have introduced with the aim of broadening and deepening future researcher engagement.

PMID:
25837803
PMCID:
PMC4383503
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0121874
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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