Cover: Demonstrating and Communicating Research Impact

Demonstrating and Communicating Research Impact

Preparing NIOSH Programs for External Review

Published Feb 3, 2009

by Valerie L. Williams, Elisa Eiseman, Eric Landree, David M. Adamson

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From 2005 to 2008, the National Academies conducted an external review of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research programs. The National Academies' review assessed the programs' impact on and relevance to preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. This book describes the methodology that RAND researchers developed to help NIOSH research programs demonstrate and communicate the impact of their activities. The methodology is based on the use of logic models, outcome worksheets, and outcome narratives as key tools in preparing evidence packages that describe the contribution that NIOSH research activities have made in reducing occupational illnesses, injuries, and fatalities. Collectively, these tools offer research programs an approach to conceptualizing their research pathway to outcomes, tracing specific cases of outcomes back to research activities, and creating a model package that concisely communicates the evidence of impact. Clearly, more tools and methods are needed to map the causal connections between publicly funded research and its social benefits. However, putting the tools described here to rigorous use is an important step in determining whether federally funded research programs are achieving long-range societal goals.

This study was sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and was conducted under the auspices of the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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