A baseline survey to gather data which will inform the development of a knowledge exchange framework was developed at the beginning of the HistBEKE project. It was designed to gather data that would provide a baseline level of awareness of research frameworks which can be compared against a follow-up survey later in the project. The data gathered thus related to the use, accessibility, values and barriers associated with research frameworks, as well as themes and topics for discussion at a series of workshops held in the Autumn of 2017.
The survey builds on the results of research undertaken by Pye Tait in 2014 as part of a review of research frameworks. This review was undertaken to provide a better understanding of the use, value and impacts of research frameworks in order to inform Historic England’s strategy for developing research resources (Pye Tait, 2014). An online survey undertaken as part of the Pye Tait review achieved 436 responses from across the heritage sector. The HistBEKE survey was sent out to the built heritage sector in England in the summer of 2017. It was open from 18th July 2017 until 25th August 2017 and during that time 1246 people opened the survey link, with 441 fully completing the survey. This allows for useful comparison with the Pye Tait 2014 survey results where similar questions were asked.
A headline conclusion of the Pye Tait analysis was that broadening research frameworks to encompass the wider historic environment, including the built environment, would be welcomed, but the structure of the framework would need to meet a diverse range of needs. The HistBEKE project takes this forward and has attempted to discover those needs within this survey and the Autumn 2017 focus group workshops (HistBEKE, 2018). The results below provide a representative view of the current use of frameworks by the built heritage sector and their thoughts on the key areas for future research; as well as whether the HistBEKE Framework would be of benefit to them and their work.