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Table 2 Using Contribution Mapping for specific purposes

From: Contribution mapping: a method for mapping the contribution of research to enhance its impact

for: Accountability
  When using Contribution Mapping for accountability purposes, it should be clarified who should be accountable to whom (researchers to funders, funders to taxpayers, etc). Assessments for accountability purposes tend to focus on outcomes, combined with inputs and with the effects of exogenous factors. While it may be interesting to show contributions to policy, practice and innovation to the outside world, this may also lead to unrealistic claims and expectations. If accountability is the aim, the focus may well be on the activities for which researchers can be held accountable, such as initiated dissemination, and alignment efforts, such as engaging potential end-users. In addition, outputs and contributions can be described.
for: Learning
  When using Contribution Mapping for learning purposes, the key questions are why research-related contributions are realized and how these contributions relate to research activities (in context). Depending on the precise question, multiple cases can be compared, or the focus may be on unique deviating cases. Cross-case analyses can be useful for revealing patterns between alignment efforts and contributions. Analyzing specific cases that deviate from the expected may help deepen our knowledge of how and why research contributes to action, in context. Analyzing multiple cases can also be an interesting test for the functioning of research programmes or systems.
for: Improvement
  When using Contribution Mapping for improvement purposes, the key question is who should do what differently to improve performance? This requires inside-the-black-box relationships that connect changes in processes and activities to changes in contributions. To achieve improvement, a single assessment may be insufficient. Improvement generally requires trying out something new, careful observation and continuous learning in a conducive environment. The process and contribution map and analyses of alignment efforts can be used as a monitoring tool in the improvement process.