Rappert, B. (1997) 'Users and
Social Science Research: Policy, Problems and Possibilities'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 2, no. 3, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/2/3/10.html>
To cite articles published in Sociological Research Online, please reference the above information and include paragraph numbers if necessary
Received: 5/6/97 Accepted: 25/9/97 Published: 30/9/97
To promote and support high quality basic, strategic and applied social science research and related post-graduate training to increase understanding of social and economic change, placing special emphasis on meeting the needs of the users of its research and training output, thereby enhancing the United Kingdom's industrial competitiveness and quality of life (HMSO, 1993: p. 29).
It is to these questions that we will now turn.
10 Psychology (social, psychoanalysis)
5 Political Science
2 Social Policy
2 Whatever is appropriate
1 Political Economy
1 Policy Analysis
1 No answer
|Department or Centre theme|
4 Political Science
3 Public Health
3 No answer
2 Family Research
2 Science Policy
2 Social Science
1 Economic Psychology
1 Inter-disciplinary group
1 Maths and Statistics
1 Urban and Regional Studies
3 No answer
6 Senior Lecturers
3 Research/Centre Director
3 No answer
2 Senior Fellow
2 Assistant Director
1 Head of Department
1 Staff Tutor
|Economics||13/22||59||Whatever is appropriate||1/2||50|
|Any non-academic user involved in collaborative research projects?|
|Not one approach||7||12||5||0||2|
11 Applied shift|
8 Compromising rigour
6 Emphasis on needs of economic users
5 Simplification of results necessary
5 Shifting topics to those appropriate to users
4 Decreasing autonomy
3 Time, financial constraints
2 Forces cosmetic changes in research
2 Critical analysis compromised given user focus
2 Red tape
2 Lack of user understanding
2 Disinterestedness in research
1 Lack of user interest
1 Public funding of private firms
1 Finding users
13 Government/Public agencies
3 General public
|1 Marginalized social groups|
1 The law establishment
1 Did not specify
21 Collaborating firms|
17 The wider business community
14 Other academics
6 Public agencies
2 Unspecified user groups
1 Teams within firm
1 Trade union
The problem of the 'non-neutral' researcher in the 1990s are dealt with in a discussion of strategies for structuring research projects. Researchers are seen as a kind of 'conductor' who must see that the involved actors bring forward experiences and interests, and that these are articulated and confronted in the research scenario. The new action aims at developing democratic strategies like 'cleaner technology', 'the good work', etc.' (Munch, 1995: p. 59).
2 This includes statistics and demography.
3 See Opinion Leader Research (1997) for a further elaboration of user responses to ESRC policy.
4 The ESRC has experimented with similar types of research programmes, see for instance, Gill (1985) for an evaluation of the Open Door scheme.
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