Developing impact evaluation
We recognise that the nature of social science impact lies on a broad continuum, ranging from conceptual to instrumental impacts, and including ‘people-flow’ impacts across the researcher/user interface. We have commissioned innovative studies that try to capture the more diffuse types of social science impact.
The first of these focussed on ‘Conceptual Impact’, assessing the influence of Social Science on the development of UK Child Poverty Policy. The aim of this evaluation was to map conceptual developments (such as changes in thinking, debate, culture and direction) that have underpinned this area of social policy.
We also commissioned an exploratory evaluation of ‘people-flow impacts’ in the Welsh Government. The study assessed impact generated through the transfer of social science knowledge and skills across the researcher/user interface, focussing on the contribution of social scientists employed within the Welsh Government, as well as that of external academics working in collaboration with the organisation.
Following on from our study with the Welsh Government, we commissioned a similar study on the work of social scientists within central government. The study focused on the contributions to policymaking made by social scientists working within the Government Economic Service (GES) and Government Social Research Service (GSR).
Most recently, we have commissioned a study focused on research impact on practice. Four case studies were developed across different areas and this evidence together with that from existing evaluations, was analysed for common enabling determinants and barriers for research impacts on practice.