Although questionnaires are widely used in research impact assessment, their metric properties are not well known. Our aim is to test the internal consistency and content validity of an instrument designed to measure the perceived impacts of a wide range of research projects. To do so, we designed a questionnaire to be completed by principal investigators in a variety of disciplines (arts and humanities, social sciences, health sciences, and information and communication technologies). The impacts perceived and their associated characteristics were also assessed. This easy-to-use questionnaire demonstrated good internal consistency and acceptable content validity. However, its metric properties were more powerful in areas such as knowledge production, capacity building and informing policy and practice, in which the researchers had a degree of control and influence. In general, the research projects represented an stimulus for the production of knowledge and the development of research skills. Behavioural aspects such as engagement with potential users or mission-oriented projects (targeted to practical applications) were associated with higher social benefits. Considering the difficulties in assessing a wide array of research topics, and potential differences in the understanding of the concept of ‘research impact’, an analysis of the context can help to focus on research needs. Analyzing the metric properties of questionnaires can open up new possibilities for validating instruments used to measure research impact. Further to the methodological utility of the current exercise, we see a practical applicability to specific contexts where multiple discipline research impact is requires.
SOURCE: Solans-Domènech M, Pons J, Adam P, Grau J, and Aymerich M. “Development and Validation of a Questionnaire to Measure Research impact.” Research Evaluation, 16 April 2019.
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