Social science has “vital role” in Scots’ referendum

18 December 2012

Making the Case Scotland front page

A major publication setting out the importance of Scottish social science in the lead up to the referendum on independence will be launched today [Tuesday 18 December 2012].

‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences – Scotland’ contains details of 19 recent research projects carried out at Scottish institutions which have influenced government policy or shed important light on society in the past few years.

The Chief Executive and Clerk of the Scottish Parliament, Paul Grice, and Professor Alice Brown, General Secretary, Royal Society of Edinburgh, will introduce the booklet at the launch at the RSE.

Mr Grice writes in the booklet’s foreword that: “Social science must play a vital role in the debate about Scotland’s future in the next two years as we approach the 2014 constitutional referendum. Its contributions on identity, social attitudes and economic impact, among many other areas, will be hugely important for giving voters the facts they need to make an informed choice.”

The booklet gives details of research relating to devolution, such as the work done on the Scottish sense of solidarity which influenced the conclusions of the Calman Commission, and on the distinctive style of policy-making in Scotland involving consultation and consensus.

Research detailed in the booklet also found that pupils in Gaelic-medium schools read English better than those in English-medium schools, and that most Scots who moved to London return home before the age of 30.

Other research subjects included: why people go missing from their families; how parents’ drinking affects their children; how to improve parenting styles; social housing issues in Scotland; and the future of broadcasting in Scotland.

The booklet is the seventh in the Making the Case for the Social Sciences series. These are produced by the Academy of Social Sciences and the Campaign for Social Science to demonstrate the power of social science research to improve lives.

Other speakers and panellists at the RSE launch will include: Maureen McGinn, Chair of Big Lottery Scotland; Professor Charlie Jeffery, University of Edinburgh; Dr Daniel Wight, of the Medical Research Council; and Jeremy Peat, Director of the David Hume Institute. Professor Jeffery and Dr Wight are contributors to the booklet.