Chances are, your organisation will offer services to different groups in the community and work across different areas of your sector, so you will need to decide which service or issue needs intervention that can be addressed through a research project.
The following pointers summarise advice Dr Tamika Heiden, Founder of the Research Impact Academy provides in a series of videos. Dr Heiden talks specifically to researchers in her videos, but we think she makes some good points about identifying a project’s vision and mission that may be useful to you in applying to the SESU.
Knowing your research project’s vision and mission will help you identify the issue you wish to address through your research project and the kind of impact you want to make by undertaking the research project.
This describes what you want to achieve in the future by undertaking your research project.
It provides the ‘why’ of your project – why your organisation wants to undertake the research project – and what energises you as an organisation to undertake this work.
This is the detail that describes how you achieve your vision. It answers these questions:
- What do I do?
- Who am I doing it for?
- How do I do it?
Here is an example:
Vision: To improve school completion outcomes for young people experiencing disadvantage
What: Outdoor education and sports program that teaches independence and leadership skills to young people experiencing disadvantage
Who: Youth aged 12-18 with a background of disadvantage
How: Implementing program improvements based on the recommendations of a program evaluation
Understanding the what, who and how
- What area will your research project focus on?
- To answer this, think about the program, service or area of the sector that the research project is concerned with, e.g. adult education for migrants and refugees, programs to improve educational outcomes for young people, and so on.
- Your ‘what’ describes what you are doing now in the sector, program or service that the research project relates to.
- Relate your ‘what’ to the vision you have written.
- Who are the group/s that the research project focuses on? E.g. the types of organisations in the sector affected by the issue or the clients/users of the program that the project relates to.
Once you have identified your research project’s vision and mission, you will have identified the research project’s objectives (vision), subject area (‘what’), target group (‘who’), and outputs (‘how’). Answering these questions will enable you to flesh out your answers to the questions in the EOI form.
- This describes what you hope to undertake or create in the research project that will enable you to achieve your vision.
- Think of this as the product or deliverable of your research project (for example, creating new or expanding your existing knowledge and services).
*Reproduced from Tamika Heiden, Research Impact Academy (2020)