What Works? Building the Global Evidence Base for Public Engagement

What is the research about?

In 2020, the Wellcome Trust commissioned us to steer research to recommend the best approach for enabling public engagement communities to share and gather evidence on public engagement practice globally, and in particular to assess the suitability of an approach adapted from the UK ‘What Works Centres’.

What is the research approach?
This report is the output from that commission. It draws from:

  • workshops in India, Peru and the UK with public engagement specialists
  • a desk-based literature review of relevant public engagement literature
  • a series of stakeholder interviews with international organisations.
  • a final, consultation workshop with the Wellcome Trust and interested funders and stakeholders

The key themes that emerged from stakeholder interviews and workshops were that, in order for evidence about public engagement to help inform and shape public engagement practice, and for public engagement to be used and deployed effectively, there has to be an approach that can: understand the audiences, broaden out how ‘evidence’ is understood and generated, think strategically about how evidence affects and informs practice and understand the complexity of the system dynamics within which public engagement (and evidence about public engagement) operates.

Where next with this research?
This research paper is available in full and online here.

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