Greater Manchester Third Sector Research Network

GMCVO has hosted the GM Third Sector Research Network since 2008. The network aims to provide an open space to discuss issues related to finding out information and conducting research within the voluntary community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Greater Manchester.

The meetings are open to all those who are actively involved in collecting and/or analysing information about the VCSE sector in Greater Manchester, its activities and their impact in the broadest sense. Anyone who needs to gather and use information relating to the VCSE sector will find that the network provides an informal and supportive environment to share ideas and experiences. Network members meet every two months and include staff and volunteers from within the VCSE, as well as academics, independent researchers and, occasionally, statutory workers.

The programme of activities is developed by GMCVO researcher Susanne Martikke in collaboration with network members and in response to their needs and interests. It comprises themed sessions, as well as open discussion and networking sessions.

The Greater Manchester Third Sector Research Network is for you if you are:

  • Based in the VCSE in Greater Manchester and your role includes finding information and using it to support your organisation’s work

  • An academic, statutory worker or independent researcher with an active interest in researching the voluntary sector

  • Involved in the VCSE sector in Greater Manchester and interested in staying abreast of research-related issues and methods

To find out what others get out of attending the network, please refer to our mini evaluation.

Members of the network hosted a workshop at the University of Manchester Methods Fair in November 2015. A video clip of the workshop is here.

Anyone who needs to gather and use information relating to the VCSE sector will find that the network provides an informal and supportive environment to share ideas and experiences.

Why are we hosting it?

From making a case for funding to evaluating outcomes, there are many practical uses for research, but not all VCSE organisations feel confident when it comes to doing or using research. Particularly small and medium-sized organisations, who usually do not have dedicated research staff. This means that staff often do research as part of a different role and feel slightly isolated and not well-supported in their research role.

We want to provide a forum for peer support where staff and volunteers from VCSE organisations can:

  • Meet colleagues who are interested in research

  • Meet colleagues from other sectors

  • Exchange information

  • Present findings from research projects

  • Discuss and listen to presentations on issues related to their work

  • Obtain feedback on ideas, thoughts and projects

  • Obtain peer support and review

  • Learn from each other

  • Find out about research that is taking place in Greater Manchester

Network meetings provide an opportunity to reflect on one’s work – something that is particularly important for researchers, but something that not all VCSE-based staff has the luxury of doing in their everyday practice. The meetings also provide a space for networking with other researchers, including those from outside of the VCSE, to enable members to form partnerships.

How can you get involved?

Contact Susanne Martikke for further information, or to suggest ideas for future network sessions EMAIL SUSANNE