Understanding Research Impact in Law: The research excellence framework and engagement with UK governments

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Understanding how impact occurs is critical if research is to effectively inform law, policy and practice. Existing scholarship on impact has theorised the way impact occurs, but there is a dearth of information about practice, especially in law. This article examines the pathways to impact that legal scholars experience, and specifically focuses on the concept of engagement. Studying the REF 2014 data and, through surveys of researchers named in case studies and research directors in UK law schools, the article explores how researchers engage with UK governments, providing insights into access, processes, challenges and resources. It shows that successful engagement and impact in government is far more dependent on chance than is appropriate or necessary and contests the dominance of the ‘research impact’ model, arguing that ‘researcher impact’ provides a better framework. The results suggest that the enhancement of impact requires a better understanding of the interaction underpinning it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-469
Number of pages33
JournalKing's Law Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2019

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