The politics of research impact

A Scottish case study

Authored by: Kath Murray

Routledge Handbook of Socio-Legal Theory and Methods

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138592902
eBook ISBN: 9780429952814
Adobe ISBN:


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The introduction of ‘research impact’ in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework established the concept as a key institutional metric, putting impact squarely on the social science agenda. This chapter examines the interplay between research impact and wider political agendas. Taking a case-study approach, the main body of analysis documents how the amalgamation of Scotland’s eight police forces in 2013 resulted in the unanticipated politicisation of Scottish policing. The narrative then shows how this newly heated climate prompted attempts by Scottish government and policing officials to close down the findings from a doctoral research project that exposed the overuse of police stop and search. The narrative details how the findings nonetheless took hold and discusses the more uncomfortable pathways to impact that remain largely unacknowledged in the Academy. The analysis also discusses the dynamics of policing research under a single police force, and the implications for both research impact and the production of critical knowledge.

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