“When the pandemic began, I was working on a project about older adults’ vulnerability to scams. It soon became clear that research with older adults wasn’t going to be possible for a long time. I started looking around for new challenges and decided to cast my net wide.
When I found the ad for a Research and Evaluation Coordinator at STORM®, I could see plenty of overlap with what I had been doing before. I had practical as well as academic experience in research, including transforming research into training courses to help people in their everyday jobs.
STORM® training content is periodically reviewed and updated; the last update to Version 4 was in April 2018. This time around, to get us to Version 5, we wanted to enhance the review process, making it even more open and inclusive, with the opportunity for people to have their say in a formal consultation process. A specific person was needed to collect and evaluate multiple sources of information and feedback – which is how my role was born! It is the first time STORM® have reviewed their training this way, so it is an exciting learning process for the whole team.
My main task since I joined has been to collect, analyse, and compare feedback from our stakeholders: facilitators, consultants, participants, and people with lived experience. I will also be reviewing research evidence that has been published since 2018.
I’ll soon be able to bring all of this together and present themes to our new STORM® Steering Group, chaired by Keith Waters, and comprising people from across all of those key groups. Then we move into developing Version 5, with the aim to have this in place by June 2023.
So far, research outside academia is very different – in a good way. This work is developing at a faster pace and the outputs are much more practical. What we develop is for the frontline and makes a real difference in people’s lives. That’s what makes it exciting for me.”