Does consultancy research have a future?

David Streatfield


This article reviews the history of consultancy research in the UK over the past thirty years, identifying rapid growth in the number of participants and a shift towards policy-driven commissioning. Some likely changes in LIS policy and practice and in the concomitant consultancy research are identified. These changes in turn suggest some evolution in consultancy research, which is likely to become more complex and strategic, with increased organisational divergence and convergence in different areas, more flexible research contracts, more international, focus, and addressing more difficult research issues. These changes are likely to call for better inter-personal and diagnostic skills, more expertise and constant updating in a range of disciplines, stronger social science research skills, training and professional development skills and expertise and enhanced impact evaluation skills and expertise.
There appears to be little future for small independent consultancies but scope for collaboration with other researcher groups.


consultancy; research; consultancy research

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