Typologies of ‘impact’

Over the summer, I’ve been busy working on my SRHE project (with my now nine-month-old research assistant). I presented initial results from the first part of the project, focusing on how academics’ identity and information sharing is refracted through different social networking platforms, at the Social Media & Society conference in Copenhagen in July. It was my first outing to Social Media & Society, and was a very interesting and enjoyable conference.

Since then, I’ve been working on qualitative analysis of the free-text questions from the survey, which asked academics to give examples of interactions through social media that they had experienced and perceived to be of high impact. It has taken me longer than I expected to do the coding, due to having more responses than I’d expected – very happy to have more data though and thank-you all who took part!

I’ve been using an open coding approach to characterise the different types of high-impact interactions through social media as perceived by academics, but I’d like to also be able to compare the results to more ‘institutional’ definitions of ‘impact’. I note that the UKRI website seems to distinguish broadly between two types of impact – ‘academic impact’ and ‘economic & social impact’, while the REF Impact Case Studies lists eight ‘impact types’, including ‘Political, Health, Technological, Economic, Legal, Cultural, Societal, and Environmental’. The UKRI definitions (only two categories) aren’t very specific, while the REF list sounds more like a proxy for subject area. What am I missing? Are there any other ‘official’ typologies I should be aware of? Many thanks 🙂

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