The University of Plymouth was one of only twenty higher education providers which was awarded funding from the Office for Students and Research England’s competition, designed to explore the impact of student involvement in knowledge exchange (KE). Anchored in the Faculty of Arts Humanities and Business, but with links across the wider University, the two-year ‘Engaging Students in Knowledge Exchange’ programme (ESiKE) had a number of key objectives. These were centred around enhancing our local understanding of the impacts of student KE, not just on students, but also on employers, academics and the University; the identification of what best practice in student KE delivery looks like, together with the generation of tools which will support the legacy of this; and the exploration of barriers to inclusivity in our student KE environment, alongside a commitment to removing these where they may be present.
The evaluation toolkit presented here forms part of the legacy of ESiKE, and has been shaped by our experience of evaluating the programme over a two-year period. It is envisaged that the accessible guidelines which follow will assist others in the evaluation of their student knowledge exchange activities, in order to yield rich impact data, insights and learning, which can inform continuous improvement, and foster best practice in student KE delivery.
How it works
The toolkit provides a selection of methodological suggestions, which may be relevant to your own context, as well as proposed research tools and metrics for use in your evaluation. We have also provided some examples of the kind of evidence these tools can generate, based on our experience of evaluating the ESiKE programme at the University of Plymouth. Toolkit users should be able to pick and choose what is most appropriate for them, based on the unique characteristics of their own delivery and contexts. Suggestions contained within this document are not exhaustive, and can be adapted or blended with a wider range of tools available for gathering evidence.