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Documenting Impact

An Impact Case Study of Anthropological Collaboration in Tobacco Control

Andrew Russell and Sue Lewis

In this article we consider the 'impact case study' (ICS) as a specific kind of document, one which, as part of the U.K.'s Research Excellence Framework (REF), enforces a common template for the description and measurement of the social and economic effects of research in U.K. higher education. We track the development of an ICS describing anthropological research in tobacco control which, after many iterations, was not submitted as part of the REF. We ask 'what is impact?' in cases where anthropological research is based on principles of collaboration and serendipity rather than the mechanistic 'research > translation > impact > measurement' model which an ICS is expected to follow. What is included and what excluded by the strictures of such a model? We are generally supportive of the impact agenda, feeling that university resources and activities have a vital role to play in progressive social change. However, the way 'impact' is recorded, appraised and measured in an ICS only captures a small proportion of the effects of anthropological research, and encourages particular forms of public engagement while discounting others.

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Beyond the Academy

Applying Anthropological Research, A Case Study of Demonstrating Impact in the U.K. 2014 REF

Neil Jarman and Dominic Bryan

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework sought for the first time to assess the impact that research was having beyond the boundaries of the university and the wider academic sphere. While the REF continued the approach of previous research assessment exercises in attempting to measure the overall quality of research and teaching within the higher-education sector, it also expected institutions to evidence how some of their research had had 'an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia' (REF 2012: 48). This article provides a case study in how researchers in one U.K. anthropology department were able to demonstrate the impact of their work in the public sphere successfully as part of this major audit exercise.

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Abigail Baim-Lance and Cecilia Vindrola-Padros

Academic funding bodies are increasingly measuring research impact using accountability and reward assessments. Scholars have argued that frameworks attempting to measure the use-value of knowledge production could end up influencing the selection of research topics, limiting research agendas, and privileging linear over complex research designs. Our article responds to these concerns by calling upon insights from anthropology to reconceptualise impact. We argue that, to conduct socially beneficial studies, impact needs to be turned from a product to an inclusive process of engagement. Anthropology's epistemologically and methodologically rich tradition of ethnography offers a particularly apposite set of tools to achieve this goal. We present three concrete examples of how we have used ethnography to impact on the work we carry out, particularly in shaping multidisciplinary team-based research approaches.

Open access

Judith Bovensiepen, Martin Holbraad, and Hans Steinmüller

just a matter of public visibility or research impact, but also one of equitability and diversity. As part of a pioneering initiative undertaken by Berghahn, as of its last issue Social Analysis has gone full open access—free and available to anyone

Open access

Hinemihi o te Ao Tawhito

How a Māori Meeting House in England cultivated relationships and understanding

Michael Upchurch

for Hinemihi: A Maori Meeting House in the UK .” UCL Research Impact , 12 December . https://www.ucl.ac.uk/impact/case-studies/2014/dec/caring-hinemihi-maori-meeting-house-uk .