Public Engagement

How to engage

Once you've decided the main reasons behind your engagement (transmit / receive / collaborate) and who you wish to engage with, you can then decide on the best engagement method that will suit your audience and maximise the impact of your research.

Researchers at the University undertake a huge variety of different engagement activities; for inspiration, have a look at some engaged activities drawn from across the University.

Engagement methods and techniques can be aligned to reasons for engagement as illustrated below:

Transmit Collaborate Receive
Festivals Open space events Surveys / questionnaires
Exhibitions Stakeholder dialogue Feedback forms
Social media Patient panels Focus groups
Television / radio programmes Consensus workshops Citizens juries
Websites Partnership brokering Ballots / voting
Debates / lectures / talks Steering groups Advisory panels
Newsletters Mediation Public meetings

The above table is not an exhaustive list of the types of engagement methods you can utilise - further ideas can be seen on The Wellcome Trust's 'Public Engagement Onion'. If you're interested in using social media, the University has developed a Social Media Toolkit to support researchers.

In addition, the University's Institute for Policy Research has advice on engaging with policymakers whilst Bath Research & Development offers a number of ways of engaging members of the public in health research, on research panels, as research partners and as study participants. 

Finally, the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement has developed some helpful guides on methods for engaging the public that include: skills required; things to bear in mind; and cost / time requirements.

Once you've decided how you wish to engage, the final thing to consider is when to engage.