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Ever since my job title changed to ‘impact research fellow’ in February, I’ve been asked many times what I have to do at work. Well, to the Ludus ex reader, impact probably means the ‘stopping-power’  of your latest gun in Call of Duty: Black Ops or the  thud when the racecar in Need for Speed bangs against a barrier. To me it means all that and also what has defined my role at De Montfort University in these last six months. It also means that I haven’t been playing too many videogames lately (honest).

So what do I do at work? I analyse ‘impact’ which the Research Excellence Framework (REF), UK,  defines as ‘all kinds of social, economic and cultural benefits and impacts beyond  academia’. I work on a series of very multiple projects about the application of social media to business practice and communities in Leicester. Mainly my work involves examining rich narrative data and survey data for observable trends and changes. So did you ever wonder whether your facebook and twitter usage improves your business practice? If you did, you might find my research to be of interest. How does social media affect cohesion in communities? Okay, enough hints. I’m presenting a paper on this at De Montfort University, on 8th June. If you are interested, here’s Professor Sue Thomas telling you more about it in her characteristically lucid way:

The talk will also focus on my experience of doing this impact analysis for REF  - something that might be of interest to academic colleagues in the UK who are engaged in similar exercises. Mainly, I will focus on the REF indicators of ‘reach’ and ‘significance’ in the light of their relevance to the projects that I have analysed and more broadly, to any kind of transdisciplinary research. Finally, my recommendations for the project will highlight how Humanities research can be seen as having an impact in the current REF contexts.

Apologies to Ludus ex readers for the delays in posting. May has been a very busy month and a strange one. I'm still reeling from the impact.

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