The Impact and Reach of ESRC’s Data Infrastructure




Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

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Evaluation of the usage, reach and impact of ESRC data infrastructure investments.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) spends almost £40m per annum on methods and infrastructure, and commissioned Research Consulting in 2016 to undertake an evaluation of the impact and reach of five of its key data infrastructure investments:

• the British Election Study (BES);
• the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS);
• the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM);
• Understanding Society; and
• the UK Data Service (UKDS)

This impact evaluation exercise was designed to gather qualitative evidence and case studies, supplemented by quantitative data on investment users. Through a structured evaluation framework, the methodology included: literature review and desk research (including examination of REF impact case studies) and interviews and on-line surveys focused on the users and stakeholders. On-line surveys were promoted to users and stakeholders by the in-scope centres.