There is a growing interest across the Canadian research system (and indeed globally) in how to assess and communicate the diverse impacts of scholarly work. Across the Canadian research system, scholars, university administrators and public servants are looking to impact assessments to better communicate the value of scholarly work, to increase collaboration with non-academic sectors and to achieve a broad range of other benefits.
This document is a companion and follow-up report to an earlier working paper of the Federation on the impacts of the humanities and social sciences. These Federation resources aim to support a productive and positive dialogue on scholarly impact assessment, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences (HSS). This report identifies and discusses the intended benefits of impact assessment, the potential risks of flawed assessment systems, the characteristics of HSS research that affect efforts to assess impact, and the strengths and weaknesses of various assessment approaches.
Through an examination of these key factors, this report concludes with a set of recommended approaches to assessing the impacts of HSS scholarship. This report also includes a series of illustrative stories inspired by the experiences of Canadian researchers, which demonstrate how the recommended impact assessment approaches might be applied to a broad range of research scenarios.