Dimensions of Impact in the Social Sciences
The Case of Social Policy, Sociology and Political Science Research

Seven: Summary and conclusions


Key themes coming out from the book are that there still seems to be a role for the academic as the expert on a topic over their role as producer of specific pieces or, even, programmes of research, both normative and technical. However, the most successful impact case studies in terms of submitting units are mainly from established universities and academics, frequently submitted by (male) lone scholars and void of national and international or interdisciplinary collaborations in the case studies. Finally, it is important to distinguish between impact agents and impact beneficiaries when assessing 2014 REF impact Case Studies in terms of their contribution to society. Impact agents are those able to make changes be it policy-makers or professionals. Impact beneficiaries are those whose lives are improved as a result of the changes, e.g. children in poverty, the elderly in need of care, prospective pensioners and voters. Therefore, it is not an overstatement to say that the contribution of academics as captured by the impact submissions analysed here has improved the lives of many people in the UK and around the world.

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