Contribution mapping

A method for mapping the contribution of research to enhance its impact

Maarten O Kok, A.J. Schuit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Background:
At a time of growing emphasis on both the use of research and accountability, it is important for research funders, researchers and other stakeholders to monitor and evaluate the extent to which research contributes to better action for health, and find ways to enhance the likelihood that beneficial contributions are realized. Past attempts to assess research 'impact' struggle with operationalizing 'impact', identifying the users of research and attributing impact to research projects as source. In this article we describe Contribution Mapping, a novel approach to research monitoring and evaluation that aims to assess contributions instead of impacts. The approach focuses on processes and actors and systematically assesses anticipatory efforts that aim to enhance contributions, so-called alignment efforts. The approach is designed to be useful for both accountability purposes and for assisting in better employing research to contribute to better action for health.

Methods:

Contribution Mapping is inspired by a perspective from social studies of science on how research and knowledge utilization processes evolve. For each research project that is assessed, a three-phase process map is developed that includes the main actors, activities and alignment efforts during research formulation, production and knowledge extension (e.g. dissemination and utilization). The approach focuses on the actors involved in, or interacting with, a research project (the linked actors) and the most likely influential users, who are referred to as potential key users. In the first stage, the investigators of the assessed project are interviewed to develop a preliminary version of the process map and first estimation of research-related contributions. In the second stage, potential key-users and other informants are interviewed to trace, explore and triangulate possible contributions. In the third stage, the presence and role of alignment efforts is analyzed and the preliminary results are shared with relevant stakeholders for feedback and validation. After inconsistencies are clarified or described, the results are shared with stakeholders for learning, improvement and accountability purposes.

Conclusion:

Contribution Mapping provides an interesting alternative to existing methods that aim to assess research impact. The method is expected to be useful for research monitoring, single case studies, comparing multiple cases and indicating how research can better be employed to contribute to better action for health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalHealth Research Policy and Systems
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biomedical Research
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Knowledge
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Design
  • Journal Article

Cite this

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abstract = "Background: At a time of growing emphasis on both the use of research and accountability, it is important for research funders, researchers and other stakeholders to monitor and evaluate the extent to which research contributes to better action for health, and find ways to enhance the likelihood that beneficial contributions are realized. Past attempts to assess research 'impact' struggle with operationalizing 'impact', identifying the users of research and attributing impact to research projects as source. In this article we describe Contribution Mapping, a novel approach to research monitoring and evaluation that aims to assess contributions instead of impacts. The approach focuses on processes and actors and systematically assesses anticipatory efforts that aim to enhance contributions, so-called alignment efforts. The approach is designed to be useful for both accountability purposes and for assisting in better employing research to contribute to better action for health.Methods: Contribution Mapping is inspired by a perspective from social studies of science on how research and knowledge utilization processes evolve. For each research project that is assessed, a three-phase process map is developed that includes the main actors, activities and alignment efforts during research formulation, production and knowledge extension (e.g. dissemination and utilization). The approach focuses on the actors involved in, or interacting with, a research project (the linked actors) and the most likely influential users, who are referred to as potential key users. In the first stage, the investigators of the assessed project are interviewed to develop a preliminary version of the process map and first estimation of research-related contributions. In the second stage, potential key-users and other informants are interviewed to trace, explore and triangulate possible contributions. In the third stage, the presence and role of alignment efforts is analyzed and the preliminary results are shared with relevant stakeholders for feedback and validation. After inconsistencies are clarified or described, the results are shared with stakeholders for learning, improvement and accountability purposes.Conclusion: Contribution Mapping provides an interesting alternative to existing methods that aim to assess research impact. The method is expected to be useful for research monitoring, single case studies, comparing multiple cases and indicating how research can better be employed to contribute to better action for health.",
keywords = "Biomedical Research, Diffusion of Innovation, Knowledge, Models, Theoretical, Program Evaluation, Research Design, Journal Article",
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Contribution mapping : A method for mapping the contribution of research to enhance its impact. / Kok, Maarten O; Schuit, A.J.

In: Health Research Policy and Systems, Vol. 10, 21, 02.07.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Contribution mapping

T2 - A method for mapping the contribution of research to enhance its impact

AU - Kok, Maarten O

AU - Schuit, A.J.

PY - 2012/7/2

Y1 - 2012/7/2

N2 - Background: At a time of growing emphasis on both the use of research and accountability, it is important for research funders, researchers and other stakeholders to monitor and evaluate the extent to which research contributes to better action for health, and find ways to enhance the likelihood that beneficial contributions are realized. Past attempts to assess research 'impact' struggle with operationalizing 'impact', identifying the users of research and attributing impact to research projects as source. In this article we describe Contribution Mapping, a novel approach to research monitoring and evaluation that aims to assess contributions instead of impacts. The approach focuses on processes and actors and systematically assesses anticipatory efforts that aim to enhance contributions, so-called alignment efforts. The approach is designed to be useful for both accountability purposes and for assisting in better employing research to contribute to better action for health.Methods: Contribution Mapping is inspired by a perspective from social studies of science on how research and knowledge utilization processes evolve. For each research project that is assessed, a three-phase process map is developed that includes the main actors, activities and alignment efforts during research formulation, production and knowledge extension (e.g. dissemination and utilization). The approach focuses on the actors involved in, or interacting with, a research project (the linked actors) and the most likely influential users, who are referred to as potential key users. In the first stage, the investigators of the assessed project are interviewed to develop a preliminary version of the process map and first estimation of research-related contributions. In the second stage, potential key-users and other informants are interviewed to trace, explore and triangulate possible contributions. In the third stage, the presence and role of alignment efforts is analyzed and the preliminary results are shared with relevant stakeholders for feedback and validation. After inconsistencies are clarified or described, the results are shared with stakeholders for learning, improvement and accountability purposes.Conclusion: Contribution Mapping provides an interesting alternative to existing methods that aim to assess research impact. The method is expected to be useful for research monitoring, single case studies, comparing multiple cases and indicating how research can better be employed to contribute to better action for health.

AB - Background: At a time of growing emphasis on both the use of research and accountability, it is important for research funders, researchers and other stakeholders to monitor and evaluate the extent to which research contributes to better action for health, and find ways to enhance the likelihood that beneficial contributions are realized. Past attempts to assess research 'impact' struggle with operationalizing 'impact', identifying the users of research and attributing impact to research projects as source. In this article we describe Contribution Mapping, a novel approach to research monitoring and evaluation that aims to assess contributions instead of impacts. The approach focuses on processes and actors and systematically assesses anticipatory efforts that aim to enhance contributions, so-called alignment efforts. The approach is designed to be useful for both accountability purposes and for assisting in better employing research to contribute to better action for health.Methods: Contribution Mapping is inspired by a perspective from social studies of science on how research and knowledge utilization processes evolve. For each research project that is assessed, a three-phase process map is developed that includes the main actors, activities and alignment efforts during research formulation, production and knowledge extension (e.g. dissemination and utilization). The approach focuses on the actors involved in, or interacting with, a research project (the linked actors) and the most likely influential users, who are referred to as potential key users. In the first stage, the investigators of the assessed project are interviewed to develop a preliminary version of the process map and first estimation of research-related contributions. In the second stage, potential key-users and other informants are interviewed to trace, explore and triangulate possible contributions. In the third stage, the presence and role of alignment efforts is analyzed and the preliminary results are shared with relevant stakeholders for feedback and validation. After inconsistencies are clarified or described, the results are shared with stakeholders for learning, improvement and accountability purposes.Conclusion: Contribution Mapping provides an interesting alternative to existing methods that aim to assess research impact. The method is expected to be useful for research monitoring, single case studies, comparing multiple cases and indicating how research can better be employed to contribute to better action for health.

KW - Biomedical Research

KW - Diffusion of Innovation

KW - Knowledge

KW - Models, Theoretical

KW - Program Evaluation

KW - Research Design

KW - Journal Article

U2 - 10.1186/1478-4505-10-21

DO - 10.1186/1478-4505-10-21

M3 - Article

VL - 10

JO - Health Research Policy and Systems

JF - Health Research Policy and Systems

SN - 1478-4505

M1 - 21

ER -