The OU 'Public Engagement with Research Catalyst Team defines engaged research thus:
Excellent public engagement with research is reflected in the different ways that researchers meaningfully connect and share research with various stakeholders, user communities and members of the public. Done well, public engagement with research will generate benefits, changes and effects for all participants as they share knowledge, expertise and skills. Excellence will be demonstrated partly through recognition of the contributions that all participants make to the shaping of research agendas, the processes of conducting research, and in the products of that research.[http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/per/?page_id=1621]I read two actions here, where engagement
- is reflected
"Done well, public engagement with research will generate benefits,..” This part of the definition tells me that engagement generates, I understand an action that "generates benefits, changes and effects" is an engaged action. Therefore to engage, I must plan to generate benefits, changes and effects. And from the first part of the definition, I will recognise engagement through the (I assume) consequent reflections that results from the action of generating.
What might an engaged relationship be? It might require commitment. a context with visibility (behaviour is public), volition (with an element of choice) and irrevocability (behaviour cannot be undone) “should generate stronger commitment” (Weick, 1995: p159). Benefits and changes must be the consequent "shared knowledge, expertise and skills". Would such context and behaviour generate benefits, changes and effects?
The given definition provides a means to recognise data to collect, but we must accept the data may be wrong data if the definition is flawed. What we may have however, is an opportunity to identify engagement and create a better definition.