The Impact of the Social Sciences How Academics and Their Research Make a Difference by Simon Bastow, Patrick Dunleavy, Jane Tinkler


The Impact of the Social Sciences How Academics and Their Research Make a Difference by Simon Bastow, Patrick Dunleavy, Jane Tinkler

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.


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 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 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

About the Author

Simon Bastow is Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and LSE Public Policy Group. His research interests are in governance and executive politics, UK and comparative public policy, and impacts of social science. Patrick Dunleavy is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Chair of the LSE Public Policy Group. He has published extensively across UK public policy including public sector productivity, electoral systems and digital era governance. Jane Tinkler is the Head of Social Science for the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. She is also Research Associate at the LSE Public Policy Group at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interests focus on the quality of public services in the UK, including citizen redress in UK public services and the use of design approaches in innovative change in the public sector.

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Book Info


344 pages


Simon Bastow, Patrick Dunleavy, Jane Tinkler
More books by Simon Bastow, Patrick Dunleavy, Jane Tinkler


SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication date

20th January 2014



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