A paper titled: Writing impact case studies: a comparative study of high-scoring and low-scoring case studies from REF2014 was published in Nature this week.
The authors have analysed the content and language of the impact case studies submitted to REF2014 and concluded that: “implicit rules linked to written style may have contributed to scores alongside the published criteria on the significance, reach and attribution of impact”. The article is enlightening, with many useful tables comparing high and low-scoring impact case studies which show a clear difference in content and language between them.
From the abstract: “The paper provides the first empirical evidence across disciplinary main panels of statistically significant linguistic differences between high- versus low-scoring case studies, suggesting that implicit rules linked to written style may have contributed to scores alongside the published criteria on the significance, reach and attribution of impact. High-scoring case studies were more likely to provide specific and high-magnitude articulations of significance and reach than low-scoring cases. High-scoring case studies contained attributional phrases which were more likely to attribute research and/or pathways to impact, and they were written more coherently (containing more explicit causal connections between ideas and more logical connectives) than low-scoring cases. High-scoring case studies appear to have conformed to a distinctive new genre of writing, which was clear and direct, and often simplified in its representation of causality between research and impact, and less likely to contain expressions of uncertainty than typically associated with academic writing.”
The authors analyse each section of impact case studies and find differences in language and content in the research, impact and evidence sections of high and low scoring case studies. As they say: “The findings of our work enable impact case study authors to better understand the genre and make content and language choices that communicate their impact as effectively as possible”.
The societal and economic impact of research is becoming increasingly important in academia, not only for REF purposes, but in funding applications. UKRI announced this week that they are removing impact pathways from their funding applications because impact should be embedded into the research process.
Together with Dr Katey Collins, Impact Champion for HSS, I am running a two hour workshop to explain what impact ‘outside of academia’ means, why it’s important, how to create pathways to impact, and how to evidence the impact your research has created.
If your research is already having an impact, the workshop will give you tools to help accelerate and capture that impact.
If you would like to attend the workshop, you can book here.
Amanda Lazar and Brian McNulty are running an Impact Planning Session on Friday 6th December for anyone engaged in research – from ECRs to Professors.
If you have some research that you think has the potential to make a positive change in the world, then bring it along.
We will discuss how to effectively disseminate your research, plan your impact pathway and how to evidence the impact of your research, as well as how to work towards an Impact Case Study for the REF.
By the end of the session you will have the outline of an impact pathway and will know how to access BU resources to help turn your research into impact.
Click here to book yourself onto the workshop.
Professor Ann Hemingway and Dr Katey Collins will be sharing their latest research at a lunchtime seminar session on Wednesday (13th November). All are very welcome to attend. The session will run from 1:15 – 2:00 in B321, Bournemouth House. Please feel free to bring your lunch.
The ESRC has launched its national consultation as part of the ‘Fit for the Future’ project and seeks your input. Led by Professor Matt Flinders from the University of Sheffield, this consultation focuses on the need to promote researcher and leadership development within the social sciences and aims to drive forward a more ambitious and collaborative national strategy.
The UK is home to a world-class social science research community which forms a vital element of the wider national science base. In order to nurture and develop this community it is critical to recognise both how the social context within which research takes place, and the research funding landscape are changing in ways that create new challenges and – more importantly – new opportunities.
The ESRC has published the evidence review completed by the project team. The ESRC wants to work collaboratively to respond to this and seeks input from researchers at all career stages, staff working in ROs to develop research capability, senior university leadership teams together with other organisations interested in building leadership capacity to inform the next stages in development. They particularly welcome responses to questions raised within the consultation paper which accompanies the review.
BU is preparing an institutional response to this call and welcomes your contribution to a topic that is critical to the future health and vitality of the social sciences.
How to contribute
If you would like your feedback to be included in the institutional response, please complete the feedback form and send to Amanda Lazar at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 24th July.
The timeline for gathering feedback for an institutional response is as follows:
||Invite feedback from academic staff and DDRPPs
||Deadline for feedback to be sent to Amanda Lazar
||Draft response to be sent to OVC
||Submitted for UET approval
||Deadline for final institutional response
Three new Impact Officers have joined RKEO, with a fourth currently out for recruitment. Our role is to support academics with the development of their research impact and impact case studies for the REF. We are based in RKEO (M402) and are also available two days a week in our relevant faculties to offer advice and support.
Matt Fancy will be supporting academics in the Faculty of Management (Tuesday and Friday at Dorset House), Brian McNulty in the Faculty of Media & Communication (Tuesday and Thursday in Weymouth House) and Amanda Lazar in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (Monday and Friday in Royal London House). We are currently sharing responsibility for supporting SciTech until the new Officer is in post, with Matt allocated to Archaeology (UoA15), Brian to Computer Science (UoA11) & Geography (UoA14), and Amanda to Psychology (UoA4) & Engineering (UoA12).
We are looking forward to meeting and working with you all over the next three years, so please get in touch with any impact-related enquiries: we’re here to support you!