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Each year, we run one or two large research projects based on feedback from our members and our Steering Group.

Read more below about what we're up to and how you can get involved.

Research 2018-20



Promoting Professionalism

PARN‘s current major research project aims to address the many challenges the professions are currently facing, including the rise of populism denigrating experience and evidence-based decision making. We want to define what professionalism means, how it must be supported, and what the public benefit derived from it entails.

The research project started in May 2018 with the support of 12 professional bodies who also as act as the "Promoting Professionalism Steering Group". 

Since the inception of the project, we have mapped out a definition's model for what professionalism is for the professional body sector as a whole which we elaborated differences in the definition specific to five broad sub-sectors – Health, Engineering, Business/Management, Finance, Other. The definition model stands on its own as a way to view the professional body sector but it also feeds into our analyses of challenges for professionalism and how we can support and promote its value via the professional bodies.

We have also completed case studies and interviews with the Steering Group members and also with a selection of other organisations – professional bodies and other organisations. This work helped us identify and analyse different initiatives to support professions and professionalism - from modern slavery to artificial intelligence and the next generation of young professionals. As part of this stage, we looked at professional bodies, regulators and other organisations that have undertaken interesting and innovative work around promoting their professions and promoting professionalism in general.  

At this stage of the research, we are looking for further professional bodies and other organisations which have done some interesting and innovative work around promoting their professions and promoting professionalism in general.  In addition we are formulating a Members' Members Survey that Steering Group members will forward to their members for completion. We are also planning to run a Public Opinion survey. The purpose of these surveys is to capture what the public perceives of professionals and professionalism, as well as perceptions members have of the efforts of their own professional bodies towards promoting professionalism but also what are their views of professionalism of other sector professionals. The stage of running the surveys has been extended to early May 2019. Following that, we will be analysing the survey findings in June.  Seven Steering Group members have completed the survey, with the data analysis underway. We are halfway through the qualitative analysis.  

We are now finalising the Public Opinion Survey (POS), aiming to run it by mid-July. For this survey we are collaborating with Toluna Insights; they have a panel of 2 million people in order to achieve a UK national representative sample for our survey.

As the project is unfolding, we shall update our website with our progress. 


With thanks to our partners...


Research 2017-18



Member Engagement

Member engagement is widely understood to be a critical element of any professional body’s outward facing activities, particularly in the context of greater membership scrutiny of service offerings. Not only does member engagement promise increased retention of the existing membership, its exponents claim that it offers more selling opportunities, increased event attendance, and adds to the credibility of the organisation. It can also encourage recruitment if engagement is achieved with students and professionals who are not currently members of the professional association.

This research aims to obtain a deeper understanding of what member engagement really means in a professional body context and you can purchase the findings of this research project Member Experience: New Directions & Innovation at Professional Bodies or if you're a member you can download a free digital version by logging on and visiting Digital Publications.


With thanks to our partners...


and our sponsors....




Get involved in our research!

PARN is already planning future research projects based on feedback from our members and from the PARN Steering Group. If you'd like to be involved in shaping future projects and are interested in providing financial support please register for our next research project meeting by emailing our research team or calling them on 0117 928 1998. 

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