The epistemic, production, and accountability prospects of social impact: An analysis of strategic research proposals

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This article addresses the debate on pre-evaluative choices of impact depictions and the forms of responses between applicants and funders. By adopting a reflexive perspective on the social impact of social sciences, this article explores researchers’ vocabularies in the research proposals and mid-term reports of consortiums during the Strategic Research Council (SRC) calls in the period 2015–18. This article develops a logical–contextual approach to identify the rationale and structure of the correspondence between the researchers’ depictions and the funders’ guidance. Moreover, the article shows that the logic of social impact and interaction is disconnected from the epistemic contextualization of social problematics. I argue that productional style vocabularies used by funders call for mechanistic depictions of impact, the logical gaps of which researchers attempt to fill through research design and stylistic embellishments for stakeholder interaction. Impact assessment could benefit greatly from relying on the integrity of the epistemic contextualization of public policy problems rather than on the summative forms of social outcomes or interactions. This article provides reflexive means of designing evaluation of usefulness and utilization of research.
Translated title of the contributionTutkimuksen yhteiskunnallisen vaikuttavuuden tiedolliset, tuotannolliset ja vastuullisuuden näkymät: Strategisen tutkimuksen rahoitushakemusten analyysi
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Evaluation
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)214-225
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • social impact
  • public engagement
  • strategic research
  • research evaluation
  • proposal
  • reflexive

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