Take a look at some of these useful guides and toolkits, which aim to help support your public engagement activities.
Getting started in public engagement
What’s in it for me? The benefits of public engagement for researchers (UKRI)
Researchers from across the UK share some of their personal highlights and first-hand experiences and benefits of engaging with the public.
- What’s in it for me? (PDF)
The engaging researcher (Vitae and NCCPE)
A brief introduction to public engagement for researchers, highlighting ways to engage the public, practical tips for getting started, and how public engagement can benefit researchers and the public.
- The engaging researcher (PDF)
Do engagement (NCCPE)
This section of the NCCPE website provides a useful set of quick practical guides on topics such as audiences, discipline-specific approaches, project management and collaborative partnerships.
Engaging young people with cutting edge research (UKRI)
A guide for researchers and teachers, providing helpful signposts and opportunities to both researchers and teachers on how to get started working together.
Public engagement: a practical guide (Sense About Science)
A practical guide for researchers on involving the public in working out how to communicate research findings.
Effectively engaging under-represented groups (UK Science and Discovery Centres)
This report brings together a series of case studies to showcase the range of science programmes and activities that are run by science and discovery centres and museums across the UK to inspire under-represented groups with science and engineering.
Public engagement resources and guidance from UK funders
UK funders actively encourage researchers to involve the public in their research to improve research quality, making it more relevant to society and offer significant benefits for those who participate.
These funders have produced resources to help support your public engagement plans and activities.
- UKRI public engagement vision and resources
- BBSRC public engagement resources
- ESRC public engagement resources
- MRC public engagement resources
- STFC public engagement resources
Engagement Toolkit (Imperial College London)
Imperial College London has created a useful set of how-to guides to help you organise and deliver high quality engagement.
Engage2020 Action Catalogue
An online decision support tool that is intended to enable researchers, policymakers and others wanting to conduct inclusive research to find the best method for their specific project needs.
When and how to use citizen science: best practice guides
Should you set up a citizen science project? The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has created a series of guides to take you through the steps to help you decide when you should choose and how to use citizen science.
What works? Engaging the public through social media (NCCPE)
Social media is now key to how people connect with one another, so how can we use social media to effectively engage the public with research?
The NCCPE has worked with public engagement professionals and researchers from across the UK to co-develop this guide.
Online Engagement: A guide to creating and running virtual meetings and events (NCCPE)
Created during lockdown, this guide pulls together top tips for planning your online meetings and runs through the pros and cons of different online platforms.
Best Practice for Online Meetings
Jamie Gallagher has created this handy checklist of things to consider and plan for before, during and after your online meeting.
Engaging at a Distance Toolkit (Being Human)
This resource from the Being Human festival offers tips on both socially-distanced and online events.
Evaluating your public engagement
Evaluating public engagement (Manchester Beacon)
This guide provides support for quantitative and qualitative evaluation for those running public engagement events or projects supported with Beacon funding, for example, community groups, cultural organisations, academics, researchers, students and public engagement staff.
Evaluating your public engagement activities: Developing an evaluation plan
This step-by-step guide shows you how plan your evaluation process for public engagement activities. It summarises what you can going to do, why you are doing it and how you will undertake the process.
Evaluation: Practical Guidelines (UKRI)
An in-depth guide to evaluating public engagement activities, covering quantitative and
qualitative tools and techniques, plus a question bank.
Evaluation Guidance (NCCPE)
A concise overview of the evaluation process and guides showing how to use a logic model
and distinguish between outputs, outcomes and impacts, plus worked examples.
Evaluation Resources (Royal Academy of Engineering)
This website hosts a very useful evaluation guide and FAQ, example questionnaires and a question bank that will help you shape your evaluation plans.
Evaluation Toolkit (Queen Mary University London)
A well-researched and tested resource with relevant and practical advice for all levels of evaluation and impact, developed with the NCCPE and Fast Track Impact.
Evaluation Toolkit and Methods Guide (University College London)
This online guide is designed to encourage those running public engagement activities to think through and choose the most appropriate methods and techniques to evaluate the delivery and impact of their activities.
Evaluating Online Engagement (University of Oxford)
A guide to online evaluation tools, with best practice examples for evaluating virtual festivals
and online Public Engagement with Research events from the University of Oxford.
Question Bank (Inspiring Learning)
Developed by the Museums, Library and Archives Council, you can use and adapt these questions to create tools which help to find evidence of learning from your public engagement activities.
- Question Bank (PDF)
This extensive online resource is an international collaboration to improve evaluation practice and theory by sharing and generating information about options (methods or processes) and approaches. Useful for both public engagement and research purposes.
Evaluation Plan Case Studies
There are some excellent examples of evaluation reports freely available, but knowing where to find them, and having the time to read through all of them can be difficult.
To help you in planning the evaluation of your own public engagement activities, we’ve put together a series of one page evaluation plan case studies. These cover a range of disciplines and different approaches, and if you are keen you can access the full reports.
Explore the evaluation case studies
Supporting a culture of public engagement
National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE)
Founded in 2008 as part of the Beacons for Public Engagement initiative and supported by UKRI, the devolved higher education funding bodies, and Wellcome, the NCCPE website has comprehensive resources on public engagement with research for the public, for researchers and for institutions.
Gain a better understanding of the public engagement landscape, and access practical advice on developing, delivering and evaluating public engagement, and be inspired with the case studies.
Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research
The Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research was developed by the UK’s research funding bodies in 2010.
It expresses a single statement of expectations and responsibilities of research funders in the UK and describes their expectations of the institutions they fund.
If you are wondering how you can help to implement this Concordat within the university then you might find these stakeholder briefings useful:
- Introduction and overview (PDF)
- Briefing for researchers (PDF)
- Briefing for supporters of researchers (PDF)
- Briefing for managers of researchers (PDF)
- Briefing for senior managers (PDF)
The engaged university: A manifesto for public engagement
The University of Manchester has signed up to the manifesto for public engagement, demonstrating a strategic commitment to sharing our knowledge, resources and skills with the public, and to listening to and learning from the expertise and insight of the different communities with which we engage.
It also demonstrates a commitment to managing, developing and supporting public engagement activities and sharing effective practice.
Factors affecting public engagement by UK researchers
In 2015, UK researchers were surveyed about the factors that affect their public engagement. The results show there’s been a positive shift in their attitudes over the past ten years.
Researchers now are more motivated to do public engagement, although they still experience challenges. The results also suggest that we still need to do more to make public engagement an essential part of a research career.
Public attitudes to science
A collection of studies looking at the UK public’s attitudes to science, scientists and science policy.
Last published in 2019, the survey results show that attitudes have remained broadly the same since the 2014 study, with scientists and engineers being seen as some of the most trustworthy professionals in the eyes of the public.
- Public attitudes to science (GOV.UK)
Public views on science and health
Wellcome collects public views on topics such as science, health and medical research through our Monitor surveys: the Global Monitor, which engaged with more than 140,000 people from around the world in 2018, and the Wellcome Monitor, which surveys more than 2,000 people across England, Wales and Scotland every two to three years.