Palgrave Critical University Studies

Questioning the Assessment of Research Impact

Illusions, Myths and Marginal Sectors

Authors: Thomas, Rhodri

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  • Analyses the ever-more important role of research assessment on non-traditional academic subjects
  • Argues that research assessment adds to the challenges of generating research that makes a difference
  • Calls for a more considered analysis of research-informed teaching
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-95723-4
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Hardcover $69.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-95722-7
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About this book

This book provides the first comprehensive assessment of non-academic research impact in relation to a marginal field of study, namely tourism studies. Informed by interviews with key informants, ethnographic reflections on the author’s extensive work with trade and professional associations, and various secondary data, it paints a picture of inevitable research policy failure. This conclusion is justified by reference to ill-founded official conceptualisations of practitioner and organisational behaviour, and the orientation and quality of tourism research. The author calls for a more serious consideration of research-informed teaching as a means of creating knowledge flows from universities. Research with greater social and economic impact might then be achievable.  This radical assessment will be of interest and value to policy makers, university research managers and tourism scholars. 

About the authors

Rhodri Thomas is Professor of Tourism and Events Policy and Dean of the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Leeds Beckett University, UK.

Reviews

“This is quite simply a brilliant book, offering a critical analysis of impact and REF which is long overdue.   Thomas focuses on the rise of the impact agenda in tourism and related subjects, but this book has a great deal to tell us about the nature of the neoliberal university, regardless of discipline. It is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand how and why the growing need to show a particular kind of impact from research is restructuring academia; this new agenda has far reaching consequences for critical researchers, so-called marginal subjects and for everyday working cultures in academic departments.” (Professor Rosaleen Duffy, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, UK)

“This is a novel exploration of the concepts and boundaries of the assessment of research impact as operating particularly in the UK. Its strengths lie in its personal perspectives and in the fact that it unpicks the policies and myths surrounding the impact process.” (Professor Gareth Shaw, University of Exeter, UK)

“This book presents a much needed, hard hitting and honest critique of the UK government’s research impact agenda… Professor Thomas argues, rather controversially, but yet very convincingly, that tourism and related research has very limited impact due partly to the marginal nature of this sector in public policy terms…. the book goes beyond critique to present plausible solutions on how higher education institutions can and should generate impact. In this book Professor Thomas demonstrates that he is able to deal with serious and contentious issues in a very accessible, engaging and sometimes humorous way. This book is essential reading for all those who are concerned about the future of tourism higher education and who will be inspired to advocate for change in their own institutions, not just in the UK but across the world.” (Professor Donna Chambers, University of Sunderland, UK) 

“In this timely contribution, Rhodri Thomas translates a perspective from within his disciplinary field of tourism, to portray the political antagonisms and inherent tensions that the modern, interplaying relational dynamics of research contest. The book pivots on the marketisation of Higher Education, and the subsequent neoliberal degradation of academic practice, and thereafter offers a nuanced and compelling account of the discursive representations of research impact, from the perspectives of various institutional bodies and actors, and their attempts to construct mythical value from research. The book deals not only with myth-making around research value, but also critically evaluates the misconceived nature and actuality of research impact. Ultimately, the book re-evaluates impact, and returns to a traditional beneficiary of academic value from research and purpose for teaching, the student. The book therefore becomes an important source of knowledge, for academics across all critical schools of thought.” (Dr Mark Egan, University of York, UK)

“Rhodri Thomas has delivered the perfect answer to the question, 'Does academic research have anything to say to understanding the nuts and bolts of tourism?' Witty, trenchant, clear eyed and level headed, it is an essential contribution.” (Professor Chris Rojek, City University of London)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Setting the Scene: Markets, Competition and Research Impact at the Margins

    Pages 1-20

    Thomas, Rhodri

  • Knowledge Flows and Innovation in Marginal Sectors: Do Universities Matter?

    Pages 21-46

    Thomas, Rhodri

  • Professional Associations as Conduits of Knowledge: Ethnographic Reflections

    Pages 47-65

    Thomas, Rhodri

  • The Impact of Academics on Policy and Practice

    Pages 67-101

    Thomas, Rhodri

  • Reacting to the Impact Agenda: Performativity and a ‘New Collegiality’

    Pages 103-121

    Thomas, Rhodri

Buy this book

eBook $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-95723-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $69.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-95722-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Questioning the Assessment of Research Impact
Book Subtitle
Illusions, Myths and Marginal Sectors
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Critical University Studies
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Pivot
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-95723-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-95723-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-95722-7
Series ISSN
2662-7329
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 132
Number of Illustrations
3 b/w illustrations
Topics