Extending Social Research: Application, Implementation and Publication

Extending Social Research: Application, Implementation and Publication

Extending Social Research: Application, Implementation and Publication

Extending Social Research: Application, Implementation and Publication

Synopsis

What are the responsibilities of those involved in social research for maximising the impact of research findings? How can social science researchers ensure that their work is widely publicized, applied and implemented? When should social research be extended or ended? Aimed at social researchers, students and research commissioners, this book is about the application, implementation and publication of social research. It focuses on the tasks of making findings available and ensuring that applied social research makes a difference to people's lives. Drawing upon numerous examples, the book demonstrates the importance of considering the impact of research throughout the whole process. The contributors argue convincingly that an ethical approach to social science research requires a focus on the effectiveness of outcomes, outputs and responsibilities not acknowledged within the traditional research process. This book also critically evaluates research production as well as the expectations placed on researchers by funders, the academic system and end users, arguing that from inception to completion, researchers need to pay attention to how their work could and should be used. Extending Social Research rigorously examines the assertion that effective evidence-based social research can influence policy and practice and provides key reading for all those with an interest in the outcomes of research work, including funders, policy makers and researchers.

Excerpt

What is the purpose of social science research: to understand the world or to change it? In recent years, social science research has been challenged to demonstrate its applicability, its usefulness. As Sandra Nutley argues: 'the current momentum and level of activity associated with the idea of evidence-based policy [or evidence-based practice] is unprecedented, certainly in the UK' (Nutley 2003: 3, our addition). Research councils and funders throughout the world have been increasingly concerned with demonstrating value for money in terms of the applied benefits of social research for economic and social development. For example, the Australian Research Council (2005) claims that it 'plays a key role in the Australian Government's investment in the future prosperity and well-being of the Australian community'. The Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council (2005) is currently funding a major research programme on 'Knowledge Impact in Society' and states that its focus is on 'real life' issues. However, curiously, despite these and other motivations . . .

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