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The development of a framework for identifying the social impact of social research

Research Staff

Prof. Sheila Greene, Ms. Liz Kerrins

About the Project

One of the Children's Research Centre aims is to conduct policy and practice-relevant research and contribute to policy debates. While the Centre can anecdotally point to examples where its work has directly informed policy and practice, how it has contributed to the way in which social issues and problems are conceptualised and may even have made a positive contribution to children's lives, we have yet to develop and test a rigorous way of identifying and documenting the outcomes and impacts of the Centre's work. The increasing emphasis on evidence-based children's policy and practice in Ireland creates a further imperative for understanding and analysing the relationships between research, policy and practice. Assessing the contributions made by the Children's Research Centre to the achievement of national children's policy goals would provide valuable information to policymakers and well as to the Centre, TCD and wider academia.

By using the Children's Research Centre's work as a case study in social impact assessment, this proposed project speaks to generic issues that are of interest to all undertaking policy and practice-oriented social science research. Social impact assessment supplements and complements the existing traditional academic evaluation rubric, and is increasingly part of national research assessment frameworks such as the Australian Research Quality Framework.

This Children's Research Centre project aims to develop and pilot a framework for assessing the social impact of social research, taking its own work as a case study.

The methodology includes:

  • An in-depth literature review of social impact assessment to inform the development of the framework for piloting
  • A study visit to UK bodies who have undertaken work on social impact assessment
  • Collaboration with the international academic child research networks and working groups of which the Children's Research Centre is a member
  • Seminars with internal and external Irish stakeholders
  • Piloting the framework on Children's Research Centre research projects and developing social impact assessment case studies
  • Documenting and sharing the learning arising from the pilot.

The final products of the research include:

  • A report discussing social impact assessment, detailing the Children's Research Centre's pilot assessment framework and discussing the learning arising from the piloting process.
  • Three case studies detailing, contextualising and discussing the social impact of the selected research projects.

This project was funded by IRCHSS

Last updated 15 March 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).