The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.
The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.

Glossary of terms

Capacity Building

Through technical and personal skill development

Co- construction (of knowledge)

An approach to learning in which the focus is on collaborating with others in order to build a body of knowledge and understanding that is shared by everyone in the group – individuals are actively involved in the process of developing understanding as equal partners.


Collaborative learning in which individuals come together (either as pairs or as a larger group) to capitalize on one another’s experience, skills, and perspectives in order to develop a common understanding.


Collaborative and reciprocal process by which individuals design, develop and deliver a product (the research, or research outputs such as a publication, event or workshop) through equal partnership.

Communication pathways

A method or strategy that engages those with knowledge and ensures that information is effectively communicated to a wider audience.

Communities of Practice (CoP)

Where individuals interact as a group around a common theme, topic or body of knowledge in order to exchange learning and understanding. Online Communities of Practice can be useful forums of peer support, particularly when individuals are spread geographically.

Conceptual *

Contributing to the understanding of policy issues, reframing debates

Cumulative influence

Research impact and influence that emerges over a longer period of time as evidence and debate increases, grows and deepens.

Instrumental *

Influencing the development of policy, practice or service provision, shaping legislation, altering behaviour

Knowledge broker

“A knowledge broker is an intermediary (an organization or a person), that aims to develop relationships and networks with, among, and between producers and users of knowledge by providing linkages, knowledge sources, and in some cases knowledge itself…” (Wikipedia)

Knowledge exchange

Knowledge exchange is a process that brings all stakeholders together (i.e. researchers, research users, policy-makers, and communities) in order to exchange expertise, information, ideas, experience and to learn from learning emerging from research.

Knowledge exchange capacity

Developing the skills and ability to foster knowledge exchange.

Knowledge intermediaries

The knowledge intermediary role is to bring producers and users of knowledge together therefore helping to connect evidence with demand.

Mutual learning

Process of collaborative learning between two or more individuals. A broad definition of mutual learning in a research context would include all stakeholders being engaged in collective learning from research from the outset and continuously throughout in order to benefit the development of the research and support its’ medium to longer term impact and sustainability. Mutual learning can also be applied to the communication and dissemination of lessons learnt to a wider audience.


Outputs are related more to the immediate results of research in terms of what was produced or undertaken.


Outcomes are the consequences of research in the medium to longer term.

Some definitions are drawn from the following resources: