Why use this guide?

Generating stakeholder engagement and ‘buy in’ can help increase the impact of your research. Use this guide to understand when and how you can engage key stakeholders in the research process.

What is included in this guide?

This guide includes three sections:

  • What stakeholders could be involved?
  • How to conduct stakeholder mapping
  • Tips for each stage of the research journey.

What stakeholders could be involved?

During your research process, think about the following groups (if they apply to you):

  • Board
  • Senior management of your organisation
  • Colleagues
  • Artists you work with
  • Attendees (there may be different ways to break this down)
  • Friends, members, donors
  • Local community
  • Organisations you work with, or peers in the arts sector
  • Hirers
  • Funders and/or sponsors
  • Volunteers.

Think carefully about the kinds of decisions that could be needed after your research is complete, and who you might need to bring ‘on the journey’.

How to conduct stakeholder mapping

At the start of your research process, it can be helpful to do a mapping exercise to brainstorm your stakeholders and think about how they could or should be involved in the research.

Consider a few things:

  • Who is the research about?
  • Who is it for?
  • What are your research objectives?
  • Who could you partner with?
  • Are there any disadvantaged groups requiring a tailored approach?
  • What kind of recommendations could emerge?
  • Who could be enlisted to help ensure a successful process?
  • Who could help share your findings?

Tips for each stage of the research journey

In the planning stage:

  • Ask a stakeholder to review your project plan and provide feedback
  • Invite stakeholder representatives to be part of the planning or to engage in a co-design process
  • Advise key stakeholders about your objectives and how the process will unfold
  • Consider inviting other organisations to partner with you.

During fieldwork:

  • Keep stakeholders up to date with how the research process is going
  • Consider adding some stakeholder interviews to get different perspectives on a topic
  • Think about stakeholders that could help you reach new participants, such as your local council or other community organisations.

During analysis and reporting:

  • Invite stakeholder representatives to be part of a results workshop
  • Share your draft report with a stakeholder and invite them to ask questions or provide feedback
  • Ask your stakeholders to help share your research report.