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Doing Research Assessment (DRA) is the method used to assess the performance of a social science research system. Elaborated on the basis of the Doing Research Pilot Phase, it reflects the fact that doing quality research requires much more than scientific skills and depends also on numerous other factors such as socio-economic, political and historical context, international dynamics, characteristics of the market for research, supporting policies and services, and many others.
The implementation of Doing Research Assessments begins with an overall assessment of the context for doing research along economic, political, historical and international dimensions (step 1), followed by a mapping of national research actors to identify research producers and users (step 2). The context assessment and mapping of national research actors are then used as inputs into the Doing Research Assessment Framework, using a combination of secondary data, surveys, and interviews (step 3).
Measuring the Production, Diffusion, and Use of Social Science Research
Factors that enable quality academic knowledge generation are described under the function of production, which targets the creation of research, its output, and the long-term objective to build a quality knowledge base and a critical mass of people valuing and understanding research. In that sense, the “production” column describes the factors impacting the academic community, from the necessary inputs in terms of people and resources, to the publication of research articles and the role of research in education and training. The second column describes the function of diffusion and looks at factors that enable the circulation and discussion of research-based products within different audience groups in the wider society. The “diffusion” column is therefore about sharing research products and understanding how research is mainstreamed and the role it plays in society and the media. The third column is about using research to support better policies and reflects a view shared by many researchers and practitioners that it is desirable to strengthen the link between the research and policy communities. The “uptake” column is about understanding how research supports policymaking, both directly when researchers are consulted or research is commissioned by policymakers, or indirectly by looking at factors that strengthen the research-to-policy nexus.
Data and indicators
The data collection approach to document the list of factors which we have defined involves a combination of secondary data, surveys, and interviews following a mixed method approach. The nature and collection of indicators will also be refined over time with the publication of results and additional observations, critiques and challenges, resulting in progressive improvement of the DRA Framework. The list of indicators selected for the Doing Research Assessment Framework is available here