What do academic conferences contribute? How do academic conferences make a difference both in the lives of academics and wider society? Donald J Nicolson looks at a few examples of conferences that have been able to make a demonstrable impact and argues it is to the benefit of the academy to learn more about how to get the most […]
Research collaboration between universities and industry: Five practical principles to make it work.
Increasingly, academics and practitioners in the UK are urged to work together in collaborative research. Ana Isabel Canhoto and Sarah Quinton discuss how social features, material characteristics, and the attributes of the individuals engaged in research collaboration can support the success of a collaborative research project.
Research collaboration is deemed to accelerate the transfer of knowledge between experts and the translation […]
Social science at the crossroads: the history of political science in the USA and the evolution of social impact.
What role should social scientists play in society? Louisa Hotson explores the evolution of the social sciences through four periods in the history of political science, each with different implications for how social science makes a difference. These lessons from history encourage us to think more broadly than we have in recent decades about how we define the ‘impact’ of the social […]
Social science’s trustworthiness is under threat. In order to save it, argues Chris Sampson, we must shift our focus away from media engagement and towards direct public engagement. We need to communicate the findings of our existing research, but just as important is the potential to learn through engaging with wider groups of people. Everyone ought to be a […]
In the States, ‘clinical’ sociologists are frequently hired to address problems within all various organisations and corporations. The UK is still catching up to this, argues Nick Fox. There are some great examples of the use of sociological approaches in public and private sectors, but sociologists interested in applying knowledge to fields of work outside academia need to identify the tools, knowledge […]
The uneven impacts of research impact: Adjustments needed to address the imbalance of the current impact framework.
The current approach to measuring and assessing research impact favours certain kinds of academics and research topics over others. Kat Smith and Ellen Stewart outline three areas that require further consideration. Academics who are negatively impacted by the current framework might look to suggest adjustments which limit or ameliorate these effects.
Academics working in the UK are increasingly encouraged and […]
The UK’s referendum on remaining in the European Union or leaving it generated an avalanche of campaign information, including hundreds of interventions by social scientists. David Walker casts a sceptical eye over the experience, asking whether the wafer-thin majority for Leave signals a failure of social scientists inputs?
The 2016 Brexit referendum — how was that for a case study […]
Managing Editor of the LSE Impact Blog Sierra Williams provides a brief round-up of qualitative and quantitative insights gleaned about the blog from a few different sources. From what content readers want more of to how people are accessing and using online information, this feedback provides some exciting directions for the blog to explore and focus on in the next year.
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp from the University of the West of England, Bristol offer support for researchers looking to track and evidence the unique, creative and often qualitative outcomes of public engagement and communication activities. Rather than an add-on to the research, it may be possible to embed evaluation within the research project itself.
As science communication researchers and practitioners, we’ve been […]
Modelling Engagement: Using theatre-based workshops to explore citizenship and research participation.
Recent research highlights the significant contribution that migrant mothers make to UK society. Dr Umut Erel from the Open University looks at how theatre was used as a strategy to co-produce this research. The workshops and resulting research findings demonstrate the value of two-way exchange between participants and researchers. The evidence suggests it is time to reframe the debate […]
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 […]
Dialogue over dissemination: Unlocking the potential of knowledge exchange through creative collaboration.
Knowledge exchange and impact activities often have to negotiate, incorporate and synthesise different kinds of expertise. Mona Sloane looks at how the Configuring Light Roundtables have sought to bring together perspectives on inequalities in social housing lighting by encouraging productive dialogue between those with abstract and practical expertise. This kind of collaboration offers real potential for re-defining universities as […]
Mining the REF impact case studies for lessons on leadership, governance and management in Higher Education.
The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s Director of Research, Professor Fiona Ross CBE commissioned Dr Elizabeth Morrow to mine the 2014 REF impact case studies to learn more about leadership, governance and management (LGM) research. The case study data suggests new possibilities for inter-professional collaboration, and also elucidates different types of impact, which may not necessarily be sequential. Furthermore, given the […]
“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 […]