Welcome to the Impact Conversation

This collection of articles highlights the of 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 info@socialsciencespace.com.

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Impact: Who Decides? 

In this first response to Ziyad Marar’s thought piece “On Measuring Social Science Impact,” professor Sue Fletcher-Watson, who represents a field where the direct purpose is to improve the quality of life for a group of individuals, shares why current metrics fall short and what we can do about it.

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On Measuring Social Science Impact: An Excerpt

The following essay by Ziyad Marar is adapted from “On Measuring Social Science Impact,” published in the journal Organization Studies. To […]

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Why Social Science? Because Changing Behavior is Essential to Addressing Climate Change

The challenge of climate change is enormous and requires an all-of-science effort. Psychologists must be part of the solution.

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The Perils of Measuring Performance, Inside and Outside Academia

Quantification can reformulate something as complex and multidimensional as teaching into a one-dimensional score. And such a score gives the possessor a sense of control and understanding. But, given the implications of quantification, this is an illusion.

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Connecting Social Science And Policy: A View from Nigeria

Good social science research has ultimate social relevance. In Nigeria, however, the authors’ study shows that research evidence and policies are disconnected.

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Connecting Academia and Civil Society: Walking an Impact Tightrope

For researchers in civil society organizations publishing and collaborating with academics on mutually beneficial projects is uncommon. Oxfam’s Franziska Mager discusses the barriers and benefits to research that brings together charities and academia and how this reflects different valuations of impact.

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Sheila Jasanoff Receives 2022 Holberg Prize

Sheila Sen Jasanoff, one of the world’s foremost theorists examining the interaction of science and technology with human society, has received the 2022 Holberg Prize,

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WHO’s New Pandemic Advisory Body Urged to Tap Into Social And Behavioral Science

An open letter from World Health Organization experts urges another WHO body to use use social and behavioral science “to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.”


An Invisible Bias with Real Implications for Women Leaders

The underrepresentation of women in senior leadership positions across all sectors is clearly not a pipeline issue. Research points to bias as one reason they aren’t getting ahead.

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Talking With Bennie Kara, Winner of the First SAGE Social Justice Book Award

As a student, recalls Bennie Kara, school was a haven. And that haven beckoned to her as she mapped out […]

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Wha …? Citation Counts Aren’t Necessarily a Proxy for Influence? 

All citations are not the same. Drawing on a recent study of how researchers across 15 academic fields understand the influence of the work cited in their research, Eamon Duede shows how citation plays a role both in indicating and shaping the influence of research papers.

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Project X: Resetting Our Understanding of Impact from Outputs to People

By focusing on researchers, rather than research, Paul Nightingale and Rebecca Vine suggest research systems would be better positioned to appreciate the multifaceted ways in which fields of research, such as the social sciences, impact society.

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ESRC Early Career Honor Recognizes Researcher Examining Renewable Energy Policies

Rebecca Windemer, a lecturer at the University of the West of England who studies renewable energy amid the communities where it is generated, received the Economic and Social Research Council’s 2021 Celebrating Impact Prize for the Outstanding Early Career Impact.


When Talking Broader Impact, Which Websites Do We Value?

Reporting on their recent survey of websites cited in REF 2014 impact case studies, Kayvan Kousha, Mike Thelwall and Mahshid Abdoli, discuss which websites are most commonly used as supporting evidence for impact and how these vary across academic disciplines.

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Banaji, Jurafsky Receive NAS’s Psychological and Cognitive Sciences Prize for 2022

A psychologist whose work helped create our understanding or implicit bias and a linguist who helped us computationally model language have won the 2022 Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences from the National Academy of Sciences.

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Participatory Peace-Building Program Wins ESRC Impact Prize

Improbable Dialogues, which works on peace-building initiatives in Colombia, was announced winner of the Outstanding Societal Impact award from the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2021.

Barney Glaser

Barney Glaser, 1930-2022: The Guardian of Grounded Theory

Sociologist Barney G. Glaser, who co-discovered the qualitative methodology known as grounded theory, has died at age 91.

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Celia and Jenny Kitzinger

ESRC Honors Coma/Consciousness Research for Outstanding Public Policy Impact

With proposing changes to the law to promote person-centered decision-making for ‘coma’ patients as the focus, Celia and Jenny Kitzinger’s research has benefitted over 68,000 patients in prolonged coma, vegetative or minimally conscious states

The Financial Times 2022 Responsible Business Education Awards

Research That Shows Impact from the Financial Times Responsible Business Education Awards

The Financial Times recently released a special report on their 2022 Responsible Business Education Awards. With the growing focus on […]

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Refugee Studies Centre Honored with ESRC Impact Prize

Led by professor Alexander Betts of University of Oxford, ESRC-funded researchers have drawn international attention to the key role played by refugee-led organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting a rapid change in global policy and providing vital assistance to more than 100,000 of the most vulnerable refugees.

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Would You Forego Citations for Journal Status?

Presenting evidence from a new analysis of business and management academics, the authors explore how journal status is valued by these academics and the point at which journal status becomes more prized than academic influence.

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Winning the Australasian Reporting Awards: Does It Matter?

In a study published in the Australian Journal of Management, the authors examine whether the Australasian Reporting Awards assessment criteria reliably reflect the observable quality of financial reporting.

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ESRC Honors Aston University’s CREME for Outstanding Business Impact

The Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CRÈME) was recently named the winner of the Outstanding Business and Enterprise Impact Award, from the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2020.

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Take the Survey: SAGE Explores Impact of Academic Research Outside Academe

SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, is encouraging social and behavioral science researchers to take a short survey on how they approach research that makes an impact outside of academia. Results of the survey are for research purposes only will be reported publicly in a future white paper.

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Report Aims to Solidify Importance of Humanities, Social Science To Canada

“In times of crisis, the humanities and social sciences inform and guide our response — raising awareness of the issues, analyzing options and helping shape public policy,” according to a new report by Canada’s Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. 

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