Building on the project team’s long history of partnership working, we use a typology of stakeholders and the nature of their likely interactions with the research team.
- Research Collaborators – will see regular, face-to-face, interactions; data exchanges; shared implementation of analysis and/or reviewing; co-construction of scope and deliberation on outputs as a basis for policy options appraisal (RESAS analysts, statisticians, science advisers, RPID officials)
- Direct Stakeholders – fund and shape research – client and evaluation role, set the scope but not the detail. Sign off, interpretation and agreeing follow up, (SG Policy teams and RLUP pilots, Analytical Forum supporting Land Use Transformation Board).
- Advisers – a wider community with expertise – can contextualise/review research materials. They do less co-construction but shape the policy agenda (Government Agencies, Local Authorities e.g., Environment and Economic Leaders Group).
- Interest Groups – provide useful context, influence, and insights into policy development dialogues. They are often involved in policy implementation and required to achieve joined-up land use. (RSPB, NFUS, Soil Association, SFNC).
- Wider Publics – Public representatives and their advisers (MSPs, SPICE) are influential on policy design and may have formal oversight roles in evaluation of policy delivery. The publics provide the social license for land managers to operate and therefore have indirect influence on land management choices.
Five impact types that will be delivered by the project can usefully be distinguished. Awareness (typically of issues or options), Enduring Networks (links between researchers and direct stakeholders), Capacity (conventionally for stakeholders but potentially also for the researchers), Conceptual Change (differing from awareness since it implies a more profound change in how an issue is framed or interpreted), Instrumental Change (in policy or practice). These impacts form an impact ladder as typically it is difficult to achieve the later impacts without having first gone through the earlier stages, convincing stakeholders of the salience and credibility of the research findings. Whether conceptual or instrumental change is more difficult to achieve is debated, but in both cases, there remain considerable challenges in observing and attributing such impacts. In some cases, the project research teams have well established networks within SG analysis and policy teams, and these will be used to help other teams climb the impact ladder. The commitment to the QST cycles also ensures that engagement is deeply embedded in the conduct of the research.
The intention is to monitor and evaluate the impact of interactions with stakeholders via the QST processes (WP2 & 4). The concern is measuring the quality of interaction with direct stakeholders and whether research has led to conceptual or instrumental change. These will include feedback forms for events, following up on the use of materials within policy processes (where possible) and potentially follow up interviews with key stakeholders. Where visibility and reach are of greater concern – e.g., with wider public’s awareness - then metrics of online “footfall” will be used to shape the social media and other web presence strategies
In addition to standard academic papers, the outputs from the research will be codification of reusable conceptual frameworks, typologies, methods, and analytical processes backed by the creation and testing of new datasets (spatial and temporal, across Scotland with the highest granularity possible), land use systems models, digital stories, infographics, and other tools. Yet the value these outputs generate in large measure depends on how they are used. Thus, the project is built around a commitment to using the data with stakeholders and building enduring networks of cooperation and knowledge exchange, with the aspiration that over time this will increase analytical capacity within government, its agencies, and other stakeholders.