Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)


CHEER’s Vision and Theory of Change

Vision refers to the ability to think about the future, i.e. the future CHEER would like to contribute to. A theory of change instead, is a more practical way of thinking about long‐term goals by defining which steps are being taken to achieve them. Both of these aspects drive CHEER’s studies and its partnerships and desired impact.

CHEER’s vision and theory of change includes addressing the following questions:

  • What is CHEER’s short, medium and long‐term vision?
  • What are we trying to change?
  • How do we want to achieve change?
  • What are we doing to achieve change?

‐ Conducting high‐quality national and international research

‐ Developing theory and informing practice on equity

‐ Producing and disseminating quality publications

‐ Offering expertise and consultancy at national and international levels

‐ Contributing to policy debates

‐ Promoting networks and academic links: can you list some of your partners / stakeholders

‐ Building the research capacity of early career researchers and postgraduate students

CHEER’s Impact Strategy

End users need to be considered as recipients from the onset of the project. Embedding impact in the research project will lead to consider:

  • What are the likely impacts of the research? What change is our research aiming to achieve. Where is such change likely to happen?
  • Who might be the end users of the research proposed?
  • Who does our research relate to outside our academic disciplines (NGOs, policymakers, practitioners, others?)
  • What are we going to do in order to reach out to those who might be potentially interested in accessing and using our research?
  • How will we make sure that we are in control of that process, noting the “goods” that come out of it and keeping an audit trail of evidence?
  • How do we plan to keep the relationships alive after the end of projects?

To facilitate impact, it is important to ask a range of questions:

  • How might CHEER researchers engage with them throughout the duration of the project (ie. events, secondments, networking)? What will colleagues do to make their research accessible to the relevant users so that they have the opportunity to react, to get involved or use it? How will we make the research beneficial to stakeholders?
  • Plans for managing impact: impact management plan. How is this constructed?
  • Allocation of resources  dedicated specifically to the impact‐related activities of the project (budget for every activity)
  • What are  our thoughts on the sustainability of the proposed activities and engagement with stakeholders?

Key Messages

  • Impact is related to the non‐academic world CHEER’s work aims to change/ influence
  • Impact can (and should) be pro‐actively pursued
  • Impact is becoming integral to research: potential and desired impact needs to be considered as research themes and projects are being developed
  • Partnerships with non‐academic stakeholders need to be created and maintained
  • Impact is tightly connected to communication: communicating impact effectively can lead to more impact
  • Keep tracked records of consultations, feedback, media coverage, contacts, over the research process and its outcomes.