Public engagement is a two-way process in which research is shared, for mutual benefit, outside academia. When planning public engagement, think about the purpose and audience. Who specifically do you want to engage with and why? Also think about why they might they want to engage with you.
Remember that the ‘public’ is not a homogenous group. Your target audience(s) could be communities who share geographical localities or have shared interests / roles. For example, they may be consumers, voters, parents, patients, residents, students, etc. It may be relevant to consider categories such as age, gender or ethnicity.
To maximize effectiveness of your engagement, you may benefit from collaborations with organisation who have reach into your intended audiences. Schools, museums, galleries, libraries, charities, etc, may give you access to a greater number of individuals than could be achieved on your own.
Make sure you record evidence of your engagement and how it has had impact. For example, how many people attended a workshop and how their awareness, attitude or behaviour changed as a result.
Remember, public engagement is a pathway that may lead to impact but is not necessarily impact in itself. If you are unsure, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join the Oxford Brookes Public Engagement Network (PEN) that brings together researchers interested in public engagement, to support and promote their activities.
The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) supports universities to increase the quality and impact of their public engagement activity.