Research impact

The Federation is at the forefront of developing frameworks and resources to assess, communicate, and grow the impacts of HSS scholarship in Canada and internationally.  

The research and teaching of humanities and social science (HSS) scholars across Canada make diverse and vital contributions to society. The Federation actively promotes the research impact of HSS scholarship by:

  • providing opportunities for scholars to share research findings, mobilize knowledge, and build partnerships beyond the academy; and
  • developing resources to help the HSS community assess, communicate, and grow research impact. 

The role of the humanities and social sciences

The Federation provides opportunities for HSS scholars to communicate research findings within and beyond academia, to maximize the impacts of their work. Through its Big Thinking lecture series, annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, media outreach program, and widely-read blog, the Federation enables HSS scholars to reach and collaborate with other researchers as well as policy makers, practitioners, and community members.

The Federation also advances the national dialogue on the societal impact of academic research through its ongoing project, The Role of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The project sponsors and undertakes research on complex issues that affect the workplaces, communities, and daily lives of Canadians.  

The Role of the Humanities and Social Sciencesa discussion paper published in 2018, is designed to spark a conversation about the importance of the humanities and social sciences. It explores why now is an important time to undertake this project, proposes some approaches for talking about the value of these disciplines, and invites members of the humanities and social sciences community to provide feedback.

Think Big: How the social sciences and humanities are building a better Canada 

In 2021, the Federation published its report Think Big: How the social sciences and humanities are building a better Canada. With profiles from leaders in a wide range of industries whose studies in HSS disciplines have helped them to innovate, influence, and inspire, the report demonstrates not only the utility of an HSS education for a student’s career prospects, but for the betterment of society as a whole.

Read the report

Submit your own story about how an HSS education has opened up successful career paths for you and/or how your research is helping to address our greatest challenges and build a better future for a chance to be featured on the Federation's communication channels. Contact communications@federationhss.ca for more information.

Research Impact Webinar 

Are you a graduate student or early career researcher in the humanities and social sciences? This free webinar brings together a panel of experts to help you identify strategies and opportunities to grow the impact of your research. You will discover new knowledge mobilization tools, and learn how to communicate and share your research with non-specialist audiences. The webinar covers the benefits of expanding the reach of your work beyond academia by engaging with media and the community. Bring your questions, join the discussion, and come away with practical tips, resources, and inspiration for building your research impact.    

The webinar took place via Zoom, with simultaneous interpretation in French. 

Watch the webinar here.

The Role of the Humanities and Social Sciences during COVID-19

Responding to a global pandemic is much more than a technical challenge. The quality of pandemic response also depends on the contributions of sociologists, economists, political scientists, and historians, among others. The same is true of other complex challenges, from climate change to economic inequality: if it involves people, it involves the humanities and social sciences. To learn more, follow the "Pandemic" tag in the Resource hub. You can also submit your research on this topic at any time.

Assessing research impact in the humanities and social sciences

The Federation is at the forefront of developing frameworks and resources to assess, communicate, and grow the impacts of HSS scholarship in Canada and internationally.  

Approaches to Assessing Impacts in the Humanities and Social Sciences, our report published in 2017, examines the key factors that determine the success of impact assessment efforts, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences. This report provides an overview of the intended benefits of impact assessment, the potential risks of flawed assessment systems, the characteristics of HSS research that affect efforts to assess impact, and the strengths and weaknesses of various assessment approaches. It concludes with a set of recommendations that describe a flexible, pluralistic, and comprehensive approach to impact assessment. 

The 2014 working paper: The Impacts of Humanities and Social Sciences Research proposes five broad ways that HSS research has impact and draws from international practices in proposing a suite of indicators that can be used to illuminate the impacts of HSS research in Canada.

The Federation regularly participates in panels and consultations on HSS impacts, and invites blog contributions to foster productive conversation in the HSS community about the important topic of scholarly impact assessment. To learn more, follow the "Research and innovation" tag in the Resource hub, and check out the resources below.

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