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Free Content A bibliometric approach demonstrates the impact of a social care data set on research and policy

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Abstract
Background

The National Minimum Dataset for Social Care (NMDS‐SC) has provided detailed data since 2006 on the workforce for adult social care services in England. In 2012, the organisation responsible for the data set commissioned an evaluation into the impact of the data set on researchers and policymakers.
Objective

Discusses how a novel wide‐ranging bibliometric approach, complemented by interviews of key informants, demonstrated the developing impact of the data set.
Methods

The evaluation comprised web metrics to assess NMDS‐SC‐related traffic on relevant websites; bibliometrics to assess the use of NMDS‐SC data in scholarly publications and grey literature; telephone interviews with 12 key users of the data set; and an online survey completed by 24 key users of the data set. A theoretical framework for research impact was used.
Results

The web metrics demonstrated increase in traffic on the relevant pages of the organisation's website. There were references to the data set in 175 separate publications (15% from academic journals, 50% as policy/practice reports and 35% as media communications. Interviews evidenced many impacts, for example provision of robust data for secondary analysis that challenged conventional views about the social care workforce.
Conclusion

Bibliometrics plus interviews provided a rounded picture of the data set's impact.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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