About the forum

How is the forum run

Scotland’s Third Sector Research Forum is a community of practice for people who do, commission or have an interest in third sector research. Third sector research refers to a wide range of practices across the entire sector – it is broader than academic research. The forum is facilitated by Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) with funding from the Scottish Government Third Sector Unit. ESS provides the secretariat, communications, coordination and facilitates functions for the forum.

What is the purpose?

The forum’s purposes are to:

  • Provide support for people and organisations in the third sector that undertake or commission research
    • Promote third sector research
    • Strengthen third sector research practice

    What are the topics of discussion?

    The forum’s discussions and resources are organised around some overarching themes and more specific topics related to third sector research. The themes and topics develop over time. Some examples are below:

    Overarching Themes:

    • Research Collaboration (i.e. across organisations and sectors)
    • Research Methods (i.e. ways of doing research)
    • Research Ethics (e.g. researching sensitive issues)
    • Research Participants (e.g. recruiting and working with research participants)
    • Disseminating Findings (e.g. presenting findings, sharing with media)
      • Research Influence (e.g. third sector research influencing policy, practice or social change)

      Specific Topics:

      • Research Funding (e.g. where to look for it, how to apply)
      • Knowledge Exchange with academic partners
      • Inclusive Research Methods
      • Researching the Cost of Living Crisis
      • Public Involvement in Research
      • Researching the Impact of the Third Sector

      Information and resources about each of these areas are provided within the Forum Topics.

      What are the activities?

      The forum’s activities include peer learning events, informal member discussions, sharing of resources and other communications related to third sector research. This includes the use of a dedicated Slack workspace for discussion and sharing. To access the events and discussion group, please Join the Forum.

      Past Events


      Events and conferences

      Events and conferences that bring together third sector practitioners and academic researchers to share knowledge and collaborate.