09 SES 06 C, Discussing Social Impact in Education Research and Assessment Related Education Policy and Research
In the context of the economic crisis, social sciences (including educational research) have been strongly questioned mainly due to their difficulty to measure the impact of research results and how these contribute to address social challenges (Flecha, Soler & Sorde, 2015). In this context, the European Commission has funded the FP7 research project “IMPACT-EV. Evaluating the impact and outcomes of EU SSH research” (2014-2017), which has the objective to develop a permanent system of selection, monitoring and evaluation of the various impacts of Social Sciences and the Humanities research, paying special attention to the social impact of research.
Including the measure of social impact in the evaluation system of research aims at changing the way research is being conducted, in order to ensure that the results achieved contribute to respond to social needs. In this process of evaluation of the social impact of research some projects are found that have not achieved a direct social impact but their results have contributed to make possible that other projects have social impact. An example of this kind of research is the body of research that was conducted on the structure and nature of the American Sign Language (oral, gesture, etc.) that eventually led to the recognition of American Sign Language as a full language and to be used in deaf education enhancing educational and civil rights of deaf people. Before the 60s, sign languages had been understood as some sort of inferior gestural system. But William Stokoe began to look at American Sign Language (ASL) and discovered that it was full of regularities and structure, very much like a spoken language (Stokoe, 1960). He published the Dictionary of American Sign Language (1965), attracting the attention and interest of linguists and psycholinguists who embarked on extensive additional studies of ASL. This work quickly led to a new understanding that ASL is in fact a full-blown language, with all the fundamental formal properties of a spoken language (Stokoe, 2005, Mc Burney, 2006).
This paper is framed in the IMPACT-EV project (Flecha, 2014 – 2017) and particularly focuses on how the contributions of these projects can be gathered, measured and acknowledged. It has implications as regards the evaluation process of the impact of educational research, as it suggests to take into account all the previous research that contributed to advance the knowledge that was used to implement reforms in the educational systems that later led to successful results.
This social impact assessment approach entails a challenge for the researcher, who must think beyond scientific research in order to think on ways to make results reach the society, either having a direct social impact or contributing to advance knowledge that lead subsequent research to have this impact in the future.
Flecha, R. (2014-2017). IMPACT-EV. Evaluating the impact and outcomes of EU SSH research. This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demostration (FP7/2014-2017) under grant agreement nº613202. Flecha R., Soler M. & Sorde T. (2015). Metrics such as social improvement, transferability to diverse populations or social contexts, are also used to back research proposals. Nature, 528(193). doi:10.1038/528193d Flecha, R. (2016). Research Enabling Social Impact (RESI) by Ramon Flecha is licensed under a Creative Commons Atribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ licensed on July 10, 2016 http://amieedu.org/debate/index.php?topic=167.msg522#msg522 Gómez, A. Elboj, C. & Capllonch, M. (2013). Beyond Action Research. The communicative Methodology of research. International Review of Qualitative Research, 6(2), 183-197. doi:10.1525/irqr.2013.6.2.183 IMPACT-EV Consortium (2015a). Report 1. State of the art in the scientific, policy and social impact of SSH research and its evaluation. Brussels: Directorate-General for Research & Innovation, European Commission. Retrieved from IMPACT-EV website http://impact-ev.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/D1.1-Report-1.-State-of-the-art-on-scientific-policy-and-social-impact-of-SSH-research-and-its-evaluation.pdf IMPACT-EV Consortium (2015b). Report 3. Impact evaluation of FP6 (last call) and FP7 SSH research projects. Brussels: Directorate-General for Research & Innovation, European Commission. Retrieved from IMPACT-EV website http://impact-ev.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/D3.2-Report-3.-Impact-evaluation-of-FP6-last-call-and-FP7-SSH-research-projects.pdf McBurney, S.L. (2006). Sign Language: History of Research. Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics (Second Edition), 310-318, doi: 10.1016/B0-08-044854-2/01332-8 Stokoe, W. C. (1960). Sign Language Structure: An Outline of the Visual Communication Systems of the American Deaf. Studies in Linguistics: Occasional Papers (No. 8). Buffalo, NY: Dept. of Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Buffalo. Stokoe, W., D. Casterline, and C. Croneberg. (1965). A Dictionary of American Sign Language on Linguistic Principles. Silver Spring, MD: Linstok Press. Stokoe, W.C. (2005). Sign language: an outline of the visual communication systems of the American deaf. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 10(1), 3-37, doi: 10.1093/deafed/eni001
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