A review of literature on evaluating the scientific, social and political impact of social sciences and humanities research

Emanuela Reale, Dragana Avramov, Kubra Canhial, Claire Donovan, Ramon Flecha, Poul Holm, Charles Larkin, Benedetto Lepori, Judith Mosoni-Fried, Esther Oliver, Emilia Primeri, Lidia Puigvert, Andrea Scharnhorst, András Schubert, Marta Soler, Sándor Soòs, Teresa Sordé, Charles Travis, René Van Horik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Citations (SciVal)


Recently, the need to contribute to the evaluation of the scientific, social, and political impact of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research has become a demand of policy makers and society. The international scientific community has made significant advances that have transformed the impact of evaluation landscape. This article reviews the existing scientific knowledge on evaluation tools and techniques that are applied to assess the scientific impact of SSH research; the changing structure of social and political impacts of SSH research is investigated based on an overarching research question: To what extent do scholars attempt to apply methods, instruments, and approaches that take into account the distinctive features of SSH? The review also includes examples of European Union (EU) projects that demonstrate these impacts. This article culminates in a discussion of the development of the assessment of different impacts and identifies limitations, and areas and topics to explore in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-308
Number of pages11
JournalResearch Evaluation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (FP7/ 2014-2017) under grant agreement number 613202 (IMPACT-EV Evaluating the Impact and Outcomes of European SSH Research).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2017.


  • evaluation
  • humanities
  • impact assessment
  • social sciences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences


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