New evaluation model shows that political science research is of high quality

Is it possible to compare the quality of Swedish research in an international perspective? To answer this question, the Swedish Research Council has developed a new model for evaluating research, and tested it for political science. The evaluation shows that the research of the highest scientific quality is often also best at reaching out into society.

The evaluation model takes into account both the quality of the research, and the impact of the research in society. It is inspired by how research is evaluated in other countries, but also has some new features.

Complements other evaluation models

“Our model focuses on research subjects and thematic areas – not primarily to rank higher education institutions, but instead to provide a national overview of an area,” says Carl Sundström, Analyst at the Swedish Research Council.

“By focusing on the results of research, this model complements both the HEIs’ own quality assurance processes and the Swedish Higher Education Authority’s audits.”

High quality and societal relevance in political science

The model has been tested in a pilot evaluation of political science research. The review was conducted by an external panel, where most of the experts were from other countries. The panel assessed the scientific quality of the research using external reading of a selection of publications, and their impact outside academia using case studies.

“The overall conclusion in the panel members’ report is that research into political science in Sweden is of high international standard. The evaluation also shows that the research of the highest scientific quality is often also best at reaching out into society,” says Carl Sundström.

At the same time, the panel thinks, the quality and impact of the research could be further strengthened, and it proposes measures that could contribute to such a development.

The report includes reflections on different evaluation methods

In the report, the panel members reflect on advantages and disadvantages of different methods for evaluating research quality. The evaluation model tested is a revised version of the Swedish Research Council’s original proposal. In dialogue with an advisory group of HEI representatives, the model was changed to avoid labour-intensive documentation, such as site visits and self-assessments.

A seminar on the model is planned for the end of November. Please check regularly for further information.





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