‘I don't understand some of the decisions that are made in this place.’
‘How can I get the support I need to carry on my research?’
‘How can I ensure my project has impact?’
This book is an introduction to research, evaluation and audit techniques for library and information service practitioners. You may well have an interest in pure research for its own sake but it is more likely that you are interested in using research to prompt a change in policy or to improve service delivery. The reality is that much research never does get into practice. If you do not want this neglect to befall your own work, this chapter will give you some pointers about how to design your project with impact in mind and how to plan to influence organizations and wider communities to make use of your project findings.
In most organizations research, evaluation or audit does not take place in a vacuum. This chapter explores the important question of how you can make your project findings count, to help bring about the changes that will make your organization stronger and more responsive. Equally you may want to influence a whole sector or community of organizations. The techniques explored in this chapter can be summarized under four headings:
Understanding your organization
Large organizations are complex entities and they have many different ways of making decisions. These are not always totally rational; you cannot assume that because your project has identified what you believe is the most appropriate course of action that this will be recognized immediately and the necessary changes made as a matter of course. Changing a service can take time, and may involve challenging longheld beliefs and assumptions. If you are not sensitive to your organization's values and culture, and fail to tailor your strategy accordingly, you are likely to be disappointed when others fail to share your enthusiasm. Change will always meet some resistance because it involves effort, and there will always be rival priorities and competition for resources.