RIPPLE is a program of research, training, and activities aimed at learning more about improving linkages between research, policy, and practice to accelerate impact in public services.

Mobilizing research to improve education

Research Producers

Research Impact Projects


We have conducted two related studies to explore research impact indicators and metrics.  The first explored research impact indicators in public service sectors, the second replicated this study to explore research impact resources for the Humanities and Social Sciences.  Toolkits and Publications arise from both projects. The purpose of the first study was to uncover resources and indicators that researchers and non-academic stakeholders could use to improve their knowledge mobilization efforts.

Research Design

Both studies used the a slightly modified conceptual framework and explored research impact indicators by country, field, sector, type, and agency. Both also used environmental scanning methods to uncover research impact resources, based on the CAHS (2009) process to create a preferred list of impact indicators for the health sector:
(1) Is there a “best way” (best method) to evaluate the impacts of research and are there “best metrics” that could be used to assess those impacts (or improve them)?


(1) An explosion of research impact resources have arisen in the past decade
(2) The UK had the most research impact resources, followed by Canada, USA, Netherlands, and Australia
(3) Very few tools available to operationalize this work (less than 9% in both studies)
(4) Only 15% of the resources included discrete indicators or metrics to assess impact
(5) Focus is on quantity over quality, and on academic publications over other forms of dissemination


Good: Increased focus on KMb and impact can increase collaboration and visibility of research

Bad: Narrow views of impact and metrics (like bibliometrics) that vary widely by discipline disadvantage some fields

Unknown: It is unclear what effect funding systems tied directly to performance on research impact assessments (like the Research Excellence Framework in the UK) will have in the long term


Cooper, A. & Shewchuk, S. (2016). Executive Summary: The good, the bad, and the unknown: An environmental scan of research impact

Cooper, A. & Shewchuk, S. (2016). Research Report: The good, the bad, and the unknown: An environmental scan of research impact


Cooper, A. & Shewchuk, S. (2017). A guidebook of research impact resources for researchers. Report prepared for the Canadian Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences. Kingston: RIPPLE Toolkit
Cooper, A. & Shewchuk, S. (2017). A taxonomy of research impact indicators for humanities and social science researchers. Kingston: RIPPLE Toolkit

Journal Articles

Shewchuk, S. & Cooper, A. (In Press). Research Impact, the New Academic Capital: An Environmental Scan of Research Impact Indicators and Resources for the Humanities and Social Sciences across 32 Countries.