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The Impact of the Social Sciences

The Impact of the Social Sciences
How Academics and their Research Make a Difference

February 2014 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
In the modern globalized world, some estimates suggest that around 40 million people now work in jobs that ‘translate’ or mediate advances in social science research for use in business, government and public agencies, health care systems, and civil society organizations. Many large corporations and organizations across these sectors in the United States are increasingly prioritizing access to social science knowledge. Yet the impacts of university social science continue to be fiercely disputed. This key study demonstrates the essential role of university social science in the ‘human-dominated’ and ‘human-influenced’ systems now central to our civilization. It focuses empirically on Britain, the second most influential country for social science research after the US. Using in-depth research the authors show how the growth of a services economy, and the success of previous scientific interventions, mean that key areas of advance for corporations, public policy-makers and citizens alike now depend on our ability to understand our complex societies and economies. This is a landmark study in the evidence-based analysis of social science impacts.

Foreword in the US edition "The Impact of the Social Sciences in the UK – A View from the US" is by Kenneth Prewitt, Columbia University.

Foreword by Ken Prewitt
The social sciences - impacts in search of a model
Social science research and channels of impact (with Joan Wilson)
Modelling the determinants of external social science impacts (with Joan Wilson)
Business and commercial firms (with Rebecca Mann)
Government and public policy making
Civil society organizations and public engagement (with Raphaelle Bisiaux)
Modelling the dynamics of impact across different sectors
Narratives of impact and supporting case studies
The governance of impact in higher education institutions
Digital scholarship and impact
Conclusions: Intellectuals, Impacts, and Civilisation

What difference does it make?"  In one form or another, that question is at the core of virtually all social science research.  This book reverses the lens and asks, “What differences do social sciences and scientists themselves make on public policy and how?”  The answers found here offer thought provoking insights for academics and researchers interested in how the methods and findings of social science can transmit from the cloisters of academia to the real world of policy impact.

Brian Baird
Former Member of Congress, President, Antioch University Seattle

This book is a vital contribution that demonstrates the importance of the social sciences to policy making.  It also makes evident that the study of human and societal behavior makes the social sciences the real “hard sciences”.

Dr. Howard Silver
former Executive Director of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)

This ambitious, learned, and valuable book confronts fundamental questions about the scope of the social sciences, the character of its audiences, mechanisms of influence, criteria for assessment, and the impact of digital culture.  Richly-detailed and rigorously reasoned, this is a must read.

Dr. Ira Katznelson
President of the Social Science Research Council and Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University

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ISBN: 9781446282625
ISBN: 9781446282618