How to measure the uptake and use of your outputs

The ultimate goal is that your intended audience uses your research in some way, or even better, it has helped to change their behaviour. We all know that this can be one of the hardest areas to assess. Informal feedback from stakeholders is an important place to start.

In order to find out whether an audience is using information from an output, you may need to invest significant time and resources, which in most cases falls beyond simple communications MEL. For example, you might need a perception survey or audience insight research.

However, this guide does explore some indicators that can be used to help build towards this wider goal and towards understanding longer-term outcomes.

Examples of what you can use this information for:

  • to demonstrate that research or work is being shared or cited by others
  • to help demonstrate uptake or influence of outputs and ideas
  • internal benchmarking
  • as an indicator of what types of comms outputs work for different types of content/channels/contexts/audience.

Example tools to gather data:

  • Emails
  • User surveys
  • Interviews
  • Internal feedback log
  • Case studies, stories of change
  • Programme evaluations 
Table 3. Key questions and indicators to measure the uptake and use of your outputs