The impact a-gender: gendered orientations towards research Impact and its evaluation

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Using an analysis of two independent, qualitative interview data sets: the first containing semi-structured interviews with mid-senior academics from across a range of disciplines at two research-intensive universities in Australia and the UK, collected between 2011 and 2013 (n = 51); and the second including pre- (n = 62), and post-evaluation (n = 57) interviews with UK REF2014 Main Panel A evaluators, this paper provides some of the first empirical work and the grounded uncovering of implicit (and in some cases explicit) gendered associations around impact generation and, by extension, its evaluation. In this paper, we explore the nature of gendered associations towards non-academic impact (Impact) generation and evaluation. The results suggest an underlying yet emergent gendered perception of Impact and its activities that is worthy of further research and exploration as the importance of valuing the ways in which research has an influence ‘beyond academia’ increases globally. In particular, it identifies how researchers perceive that there are some personality traits that are better orientated towards achieving Impact; how these may in fact be gendered. It also identifies how gender may play a role in the prioritisation of ‘hard’ Impacts (and research) that can be counted, in contrast to ‘soft’ Impacts (and research) that are far less quantifiable, reminiscent of deeper entrenched views about the value of different ‘modes’ of research. These orientations also translate to the evaluation of Impact, where panellists exhibit these tendencies prior to its evaluation and describe the organisation of panel work with respect to gender diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages11
JournalPalgrave Communications
Issue number72
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2020

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