skip to content

Sociology Research

Dr Kate Williams is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and the Principal Investigator on a UK Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) Future Research Leaders Grant at the University of Cambridge. She also holds a position as a Junior Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Cambridge, funded by a Commonwealth Scholarship and the Cambridge Overseas Trust.

Research Interests

Kate’s current research project investigates the assessment of research impact in policy knowledge contexts. The project examines how emerging methods of research impact assessment take on meaning in practice, through quantitative analysis, ethnography and interviews. It develops a theoretical framework that accounts for emerging cultures of research evaluation and their underlying procedures and structures. The work reframes the assessment of research impact as occurring within a hybrid non-standard field, which shapes evaluative cultures according to multiple criteria and logics.

Kate’s previous research investigated how policy research organizations in Australia, the UK and the US produce and disseminate knowledge, using interview, document and bibliometric analysis. It developed an account of how credibility is gained in the liminal space of policy research via ongoing negotiation of symbolic resources from more established fields.

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Williams, K. (2018). Coherence in identity, process and outcome: Three strategies for attaining legitimacy in policy knowledge. Public Administration, 96(1), 53-69.

Williams, K. & Grant, J. (2018). A comparative review of the how policy and procedures to assess research impact evolved in Australia & the UK. Research Evaluation, 27(2), 93-105.

Williams, K. & Gonzalez Hernando, M. (2018). Organisations and policy-relevant knowledge production. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 31(2), 127-129.

Gonzalez Hernando, M. & Williams, K. (2018). Examining the link between funding and intellectual interventions. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 31(2), 193-206.

Williams, K., Donaghue, N. & Kurz, T. (2013). “Giving guilt the flick?”: An investigation of mothers’ talk. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 37(1), 97-112.

Williams, K., Kurz, T., Summers, M., & Crabb, S. (2013). Discursive constructions: The dilemma of mothers’ guilt. Feminism & Psychology, 23(3), 339-358.

Grants and Projects

‘Alternative Measures of Impact in Multilateral Agencies: The Potential for Knowledge for Sustainable Human Development’, (2017-2019), ESRC Future Research Leader grant and Isaac Newton Trust grant (£214,000).

‘Emerging evaluative cultures: The assessment of research in policy knowledge fields’, (2018-2019), British Academy and Leverhulme Small Grant (£10,000).

‘Knowledge production across research contexts: Universities, think-tanks and government agencies in international development’, (2012-2016), Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan Award and Cambridge Overseas Trust (£97,000).

Job Title:
ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow (Sociology, Cambridge), Research Fellow (Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge), Postdoctoral Fellow (Weatherhead Scholars Program, Harvard)
Contact Information:
01223 767180