The inclusion of research impact in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework in the UK (REF2014) was greeted with scepticism by the academic community, not least due to the challenges of defining and measuring the nature and significance of impact. A new analytical framework of the nature of impact is developed in this chapter and it distinguishes between policy creation, direction, discourse and practice. This framework is then applied to the top-ranked impact case studies in the REF2014 from the Social Work and Social Policy sub-panel and the ESRC Early Career Impact Prize Winners in order to assess impact across the life-course of academics.
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