In the UK in particular, but I presume elsewhere as well here has been a lot of discussion about the “impact” of sociology and related social research. Over on socialscinecespace.com Martyn Hammersley has challenged the unreflected demands for impact and the often naive calls for evidence-based policy and practice.
Symbolic Interactionism of course was founded on basis that research and practice/policy are closely interlinked. This is well reflected in the work of Jane Addams and the political engagement of the sociologists of the Chicago School of the early 1900s. Joe Kotarba has taken up the debate about praxis-relevance of social research and argues that the distinction “between basic and applied research is outdated and dysfunctional”. His paper “Symbolic Interactionism and Applied Social Research: A Focus on Translational Science” is out on Early View.