Social Science Impact

Welcome to the Impact Conversation

This collection of articles highlights social and behavioral science research, and interrogates the metrics by which this impact is measured.

We want to hear your thoughts, ideas, experiences and concerns about research impact and its measurement. Join the conversation using #SocialScienceImpact, comment on the articles below, or send us your thoughts at

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Connecting Legislators and Researchers, Leads to Policies Based on Scientific Evidence

The author’s team is developing ways to connect policymakers with university-based researchers – and studying what happens when these academics become the trusted sources, rather than those with special interests who stand to gain financially from various initiatives.

Pie pictured.

Your Data Likely Isn’t Best Served in a Pie Chart

Overall, it is best to use pie charts sparingly, especially when there is a more “digestible” alternative – the bar chart.


Philip Rubin: FABBS’ Accidental Essential Man Linking Research and Policy

As he stands down from a two-year stint as the president of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences, or FABBS, Social Science Space took the opportunity to download a fraction of the experiences of cognitive psychologist Philip Rubin, especially his experiences connecting science and policy.

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New Tool Empowers Researchers to Uncover Their Policy Impact

Sage Policy Profiles lets researchers easily see specific citations of their work in policy documents and then illustrate and share that work’s impact graphically.

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10 Tips for Pitching Your Research to Reach Policy Makers

These 10 tips will help you build your brand and the reach of your scholarship, with the goal of finding your position within the wider context of your research area and leveraging change.


When Social Impact And Global University Rankings Collide: Successful Beginnings For African Universities

The authors have launched a new international, multi-institution and interdisciplinary research project. “African universities as enablers of social innovation and sustainable development” is funded by the Worldwide Universities Network.

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New Thought Leadership Webinar Series Opens with Regional Looks at Research Impact

Research impact will be the focus of a new webinar series from Epigeum, which provides online courses for universities and colleges. The […]


Endel Tulving, 1927-2023: ‘The Memorist’ of Cognitive Psychology

Endel Tulving, a cognitive neuroscientist and experimental psychologist who conducted groundbreaking work on memory after his escape from war-torn Europe, died on September 11 at age 96.

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Matchmaking Research to Policy: Introducing Britain’s Areas of Research Interest Database

Kathryn Oliver discusses the recent launch of the United Kingdom’s Areas of Research Interest Database. A new tool that promises to provide a mechanism to link researchers, funders and policymakers more effectively collaboratively and transparently.

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Berggruen Philosophy Prize Awarded to Sociologist Patricia Hill Collins

Patricia Hill Collins, a sociologist and social theorist whose work helped set the stage for theoretical examinations of intersectionality, especially for African-American women, was awarded the 2023 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture

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The Many Wins Represented by Claudia Goldin’s Nobel Prize

Decades of research have seen economic historian Claudia Goldin methodically collate data and archival stories, detective style, to uncover explanations for the rise and fall (and rise again) of women’s paid employment over the centuries

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Marc Augé, 1935-2023: Anthropologist Founder Of ‘Non-Places’

French anthropologist Marc Augé, who died on July 24, is renowned for his concept of “non-places”. His 1993 text of the same name describes a reality that is very much relevant to our everyday lives.

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Designing Research For Impact

Recent experiences have not been very positive. The vast majority of proposals seem to conflate impact with research dissemination (a heroic leap of faith – changing the world one seminar at a time), or to outsource impact to partners such as NGOs and thinktanks.

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Norman Denzin, 1941-2023: The Father of Qualitative Research

Sociologist Norman K. Denzin, whose pioneering work in developing and popularizing qualitative research methodology saw him dubbed “the father of qualitative research,” died on August 6 in Urbana, Illinois. He was 82.

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Seeking Policy Impact? Cite Your Evidence

When communicating with a policymaker, especially one with whom you disagree, you want to stop them from discounting your opinion. One way to do this is by citing quality evidence to support your position.

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As We Evolve Science Policy We Must Vigilantly Assess Its Changes

Considering a series of proposed policy changes by the National Institutes of Health, Micah Altman and Philip N. Cohen, argue they highlight wider systematic gaps in the evaluation of operational science policies and signal an urgent need to increase funding for metascience.


You Can Merge Two Goals: A Talk with Scholar-Activist Gregory Squires

For his work on the many facets of the struggle to advance fair housing, the Urban Affairs Association has honored sociologist Gregory Squires with its 2023 Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award.

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Social Science Research Council Turns 100: Interview with President Anna Harvey

To celebrate the Social Science Research Council’s 100th anniversary, we interviewed SSRC president Anna Harvey.

100 Years Social Science Research Council.

Social Science Research Council Turns 100: Fellowship and Grant Recipients

To celebrate the Social Science Research Council’s 100th anniversary, we’re highlighting three scholars honored with SSRC fellowships and awards.

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Hype Terms In Research: Words Exaggerating Results Undermine Findings

The claim that academics hype their research is not news. The use of subjective or emotive words that glamorize, publicize, embellish or exaggerate results and promote the merits of studies has been noted for some time and has drawn criticism from researchers themselves. Some argue hyping practices have reached a level where objectivity has been replaced by sensationalism and manufactured excitement. By exaggerating the importance of findings, writers are seen to undermine the impartiality of science, fuel skepticism and alienate readers.


William E. Spriggs, 1955-2023: Economist And Racial Justice Advocate

Economist William E. Spriggs, an educator, racial justice advocate and public sector leader whose work saw him operate at the highest levels of American policymaking, died June 6.

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What Constitutes Gender Bias In Academia?

Researchers regularly observe gender differences in favor of men in various parts of academia, such as fewer women in senior academic positions, fewer publications, lower citations rates and lower funding of women. However, researchers also observe differences in favor of women, such as more women being elected in NAS, more favorable peer review and higher funding rates of women.

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Five Ways Altmetrics Are Useful For Academics

Here are five ways I have found Altmetrics to be useful beyond a simple numerical score and just telling us which journal papers are receiving attention.


Ecological Economist Joan Martinez-Alier Receives 2023 Holberg Prize

Joan Martinez-Alier, a scholar in ecological economics and political ecology, received the 2023 Holberg Prize from Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.

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Interview Describes Biases That Manifest In Artificial Intelligence Systems

Meredith Broussard, one of the few Black women doing research in artificial intelligence, would like to see us tackling the problems that have been shown to be prevalent in today’s AI systems, especially the issue of bias based on race, gender, or ability.

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