This paper examines if there is a ‘rigour-relevance gap’ in collaborative heritage science research and what enables and impedes effective collaboration between academic researchers and users of research evidence in practice. A quantitative attitudes questionnaire was distributed amongst the heritage science community: 210 responses were received. Respondents answered in relation to one project they had worked on in the UK in the previous five years. They were asked about their personal goals in relation to the project and whether these were achieved, satisfaction levels in relation to project outcomes and impact, level of agreement with a series of attitude statements to ascertain what helped and hindered projects, personal characteristics and project characteristics. The questionnaire was analysed using a factor analytic, segmentation and profiling approach. Most respondents sought both rigour and relevance in collaborative research, were generally satisfied with the outcomes of projects and reported positive experiences of collaboration. However, respondents were less satisfied that the impact of projects would be realised. Practice-focussed goals were associated with lower levels of self-rated achievement than academic goals and a sizeable minority reported challenges in collaborative research. Furthermore, researchers and users differed in terms of their goals, experiences and level of satisfaction. Users had high expectations that research would translate into practice, but did not always feel this was realised. Results from this project will inform how to improve heritage science research collaborations.
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BioMed Central Ltd.