The Open UniversitySkip to content

Conceptualizing impact in academic development: finding a way through

Jones, Anna; Lygo-Baker, Simon; Markless, Sharon; Rienties, Bart and Di Napoli, Roberto (2017). Conceptualizing impact in academic development: finding a way through. Higher Education Research & Development, 36(1) pp. 116–128.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This paper explores the notion of impact in the context of academic development programs and considers how it can be described and understood. We argue that impact has a range of meanings and academic development programs such as graduate certificates have a broad group of stakeholders and hence the impact is different for each group depending on how the program aims and objectives are defined and understood. In finding a way through the difficulties of evaluating impact in academic development we point to the importance of clearly conceptualizing the notion of impact, a careful identification of the assumptions underpinning any program and an understanding of who academic development will benefit and how. We suggest that impact in academic development cannot be understood without taking account of the range of possible impacts and the difficulty of attributing simple cause and effect to a complex environment.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 HERDSA
ISSN: 1469-8366
Keywords: Academic development; educational development; evaluation; research methodologies
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 46311
Depositing User: Bart Rienties
Date Deposited: 12 May 2016 14:31
Last Modified: 06 May 2019 19:07
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU