Researcher talking to the public at the Data Science InstituteOur engagement toolkit has everything you need to organise high-quality engagement with the public. We are constantly adding to this list so let us know of any other guides you’d like to see here.

Note: If you see an asterisk (*), we'll be adding this resource soon!

Before you start: your aims and audiences

There's lots you can achieve through engagement but different goals often require different approaches. Narrow down some specific goals so you can choose the right approach from the outset. Our resource How to plan a public engagement activity has some great tips for this.

What do you want your impact to look like?

  • Broad – I want to reach as many people as possible.
  • Deep – I want to have a significant impact (usually on a smaller number of people).

If you are aiming to achieve both, you can use a multi-pronged approach where your project has multiple activities that meet different goals.

Who do you want to engage with?

Hint: Be more specific than the 'general public'. Thinking through your aims can help you identify an audience for your activity. For example, if you would like to encourage people to recycle more, then locals who currently don’t recycle might be an ideal target. If you want to understand the needs of patients with a specific disease, then you would want to speak to those patients or their carers. Narrowing down your audience will help to create a targeted and relevant activity. Check out our resource on How to choose an audience to engage with for more on this.


Guides