As the Higher Education and Research Bill gets its second reading in the House of Commons, Dorothy Bishop revisits the costs and benefits of one of its primary components, the Teaching Excellence Framework. Based on the government’s own analysis, the system is designed to separate winners and losers with potentially devastating effects for the losers. The outcome will depend crucially […]
Redesigning integration: Access to government records is necessary for researchers to identify policy effects.
Especially for complex social issues like migration and integration, there is a pressing need to understand why certain policies work and others do not. Dominik Hangartner argues that when scholars are able to combine credible research designs with linked registry data and state-of-the-art targeted surveys, they have a greater chance of identifying the causal effects of policy parameters on short- […]
Universities were shocked and profoundly concerned by the Leave vote. So much collaboration between European universities has arisen from membership of the EU. But, writes Anne Corbett, now is the time to forge and deepen our European links thorough associations like Coimbra and the European University Association.
Shock and alarm
Few policy sectors are more shocked than higher education at the referendum […]
Greater than the sum of its parts: How to develop collaborative networks to solve complex social issues.
Many contemporary societal challenges are complex, and span different domains of knowledge and expertise. This is especially true for environmental issues where the need for more holistic thinking is strongly articulated. But just bringing a set of diverse actors into a room does not by itself solve complex problems, argues Örjan Bodin. Solutions are often generated by networks that […]
How to make better mistakes in public policy: Learn from the negative results just as much as the positive ones.
We all make mistakes, a tendency which also extends to those who work in public policy. But we often only hear about successes. Bucking this trend, Kevin Arceneaux and Daniel Butler describe a recent pilot program aimed at boosting civic engagement. Rather than increasing the number of people who volunteered for town committees as intended, the three tactics they […]
How should academics interact with policy makers? Lessons on building a long-term advocacy strategy.
What can academics learn from how civil society organisations and NGOs approach policy impact? Julia Himmrich argues that academics have a lot to gain from embracing the practices of long-term advocacy. Advocacy is about establishing relationships and creating a community of experts both in and outside of government who can give informed input on policies. Being more aware of the […]
The role of academic social science in relation to policymaking and practice has seen extensive discussion and disagreement in recent years. An essential starting point for our understanding, argues Martyn Hammersley, is to distinguish among the different types of social research, especially between academic work and more practical forms of inquiry. We need to start presenting a more realistic justification for […]
“We should expect more, not less of our profession”: Responses to ‘Should academics be expected to change policy?’
James Lloyd’s recent post “Should academics be expected to change policy? Six reasons why it is unrealistic for research to drive policy change” has received considerable attention in research and policy circles since it was first published two weeks ago. Drawing on their respective experiences with research impact in policymaking, Chris Neff, Paul Smyth and Luke Craven each offer […]
We need more solution-oriented social science: on changing our frames of reference and tackling big social problems.
Solution-oriented social science makes solving problems the object of social science, and working on other people’s problems becomes the key driver of the problems to be solved. These solutions may be of relevance for everyday citizens or actors working in government, non-profits, or for-profits. Mark Western argues that approaching research in this way would influence how we choose problems, how we build […]
Making your Marx in research: Reflections on impact and the efficacy of case studies using the work of Karl Marx.
Drawing from a recent study on how impact occurs in the social sciences, Sioned Pearce looks at some specific issues with the case study approach to understanding impact. Viewed alongside the life and works of Karl Marx, the REF’s approach to impact measurement can be seen as highly problematic. Marx’s work was an accumulation of a lifetime of intellectual thought, the […]
Should academics be expected to change policy? Six reasons why it is unrealistic for research to drive policy change
UK social scientists feel a growing pressure to achieve policy change. In reality, this process is more complex than it sounds. James Lloyd looks at six reasons that limit the impact research can have on policy change. None of this should suggest that academic researchers shouldn’t seek to influence policymaking. But more consideration is needed on how best academic […]
The significant absence of expert women’s voices from media debates and academic events related to the EU Referendum has been widely reported. Roberta Guerrina, Toni Haastrup, Katharine Wright share a list of women EU experts and argue there are in fact many women voices on these issues and they are not difficult to find. More work needs to be done by political […]
Australia’s so-called ‘ideas boom’ comes at a cost to research funding and sustainable infrastructure, Kanishka Jayasuriya and Carol Johnson write. An emphasis on entrepreneurial culture at the expense of wider public research investment risks socialising the risks of research and privatising the benefits, which ultimately may do lasting harm to both sectors.
Innovation is a central part of Australian Prime Minister […]
In March 2016, Democratic Dashboard 2.0 was launched, a web portal aimed at giving voters in the UK easily accessible information for the elections on May 5th. This was the culmination of several years of work and preparation by Democratic Audit UK, based in the LSE, seeking to engage voters in the increasingly active civic technology field. Carl Cullinane outlines […]
With language studies in decline, we need a relevant and integrated approach to foreign languages in the classroom.
There has been a rapid decline in the number of university language departments since the early 2000s. Michael Tavares provides wider context on the state of language teaching and learning in Britain and looks in particular at how universities might boost the relevance of language studies in other degree programmes. By incorporating language exercises and materials for specific purposes, the teaching of foreign […]
‘We need to speak about race’: Examining the barriers to full and equal participation in university life
Looking to examine and address the barriers facing black and minority ethnic academic staff, the LSE is funding a project entitled ‘Race in the Academy’ investigating why so few black and ethnic minority academics are attracted to the LSE and why it struggles to retain black and ethnic minority academic staff. The project is led by Caroline Howarth and Akile Ahmet. […]
What impact evidence was used in REF 2014? Disciplinary differences in how researchers demonstrate and assess impact
A new report produced by the Digital Science team explores the types of evidence used to demonstrate impact in REF2014 and pulls together guidance from leading professionals on good practice. Here Tamar Loach and Martin Szomszor present a broad look at the the types of evidence in use in the REF impact case studies and reflect on the association between use of […]
Policy-makers, we presume, want to solve social problems. Therefore, they select policy measures. In practice, these measures tend to trigger different reactions in society. How might a government avoid bad reactions, such as the tuition fees protests and ‘bedroom tax’ campaigns? Peter van Wijck and Bert Niemeijer present a framework which looks to align the perspectives of policymakers and […]
In An Economist In The Real World: The Art of Policymaking in India, Chief Economist of the World Bank Kaushik Basu seeks to explain Indian policymaking in lay terms. Ankita Mukhopadhyay writes that the book deftly delves into the complexities of the Indian economy. However, she warns that while the author is an excellent storyteller, a reader without a background […]