impactcoverThe Impact of the Social Sciences: How Academics and Their Research Make a Difference

By Simon Bastow, Jane Tinkler and Patrick Dunleavy.

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The three-year Impact of Social Sciences Project has culminated in a monograph published by SAGE. The book presents thorough analysis of how academic research in the social sciences achieves public policy impacts, contributes to economic prosperity, and informs public understanding of policy issues as well as economic and social changes. This book is essential reading for academics, researchers, university administrators, government and private funders, and anyone interested in the global conversation about joining up and increasing the societal value and impact of social science knowledge and research.


  • Read the preface and first chapter, The Social Sciences in Modern Research [pdf].
  • View the data visualisations that appear in the book here.
  • Browse our Living Bibliography with links to further resources.
  • Research Design and Methods Appendix [PDF]
  • “Assessing the Impacts of Academic Social Science Research: Modelling the economic impact on the UK economy of UK-based academic social science research” [PDF] A report prepared for the LSE Public Policy Group by Cambridge Econometrics.

Research Blogs:

Launch Event:

Engaged Social Science:  Impacts and Use of Research in the UK Wednesday 6.30 – 8.00pm 29 January 2014 – London

Podcast of the event available here

Panel speakers included:

  • Mark Easton (Home Editor, BBC News)
  • Penny Lawrence (International Programmes Director, Oxfam GB)
  • Aileen Murphie (Director, Local Government VFM, National Audit Office)
  • Jeff Patmore (former Head Strategic University Research & Collaboration, British Telecom)
  • Professor Lord Stern (Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics)

In the News

The Impact of Social Sciences blog will continue to feature the latest discussion taking place around the new data as well as the implications this work might have on how the social sciences can communicate their work more effectively. Stay tuned!

impactcoverThe Impact of the Social Sciences: How Academics and Their Research Make a Difference by Simon Bastow, Jane Tinkler and Patrick Dunleavy. 
University social science plays an essential role in the ‘human-dominated’ and ‘human-influenced’ systems that are central to our modern civilization. Across the world around 40 million people now work or study in university social science, or work in jobs where they ‘translate’ or mediate advances in social science research for use in business, government and public agencies, health care systems, media and civil society organizations. Yet the impacts of university social science have been under-researched, and their effectiveness often decried. Relatively little is known about the scale, diversity, and external salience of university social science research as a discipline group.

Using large-scale and in-depth research on Britain, the authors comprehensively demonstrate how the growth of a services economy and the success of previous scientific interventions, both mean that key areas of advance for corporations, policymakers and citizens alike now depend on our ability to understand and manage our complex societies and economies.

The authors break new ground in charting the scale and common features of impacts across the social sciences. They show how university research throughout this discipline group shapes public policy development, contributes to economic prosperity, plays a vital role in civil society, and critically informs public understanding of how our society and political processes work.

Explore our living bibliography.

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