I'm writing a case study for the Research Excellence Framework (REF)


What makes a 4* impact case study?

Resources to help you evaluate your impact


Evidencing impact from media engagement

Find out how to evaluate impacts arising from media engagement, by planning impacts with indicators you can track, or via social media analysis, the funnel approach or by using before/after polling data.

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Five things you need to do to capture the impact of training as a pathway to impact

Training can be a powerful way to generate far-reaching impacts from your research, but you will need to set up your training so you can collect evidence of impact on the day and get permission to follow people up in future.

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How to evaluate complex research impact

Methods to help you disentangle and evaluate complex impacts quickly and easily.

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How to get commercially sensitive data to evidence economic impacts from research

If your research has been commercialised in some way, then you may be asked to evidence the economic benefits arising from your work. Economic claims are harder to evidence than you might think, because many companies are nervous about sharing commercially sensitive data. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. In this guide, we’ve suggested a few things that might get you something useful.  

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Get longitudinal impact data with a postcard to your future self

This guide tells you how to use postcards to increase the likelihood of generating impacts after an engagement event, whilst giving you GDPR compliant permission to evaluate impacts as they evolve over time.

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Other useful REF resources


How to move your REF impact case study to a new institution

Impacts remain with the institution in which you conducted your underpinning research, but what if you’ve moved institution and still want to claim impacts from your research? This guide explains how you can do this without breaking the REF rules.

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Research into REF evaluator behaviour offers three key pieces of advice for REF2021

Find out how REF evaluators judged impact in REF2014, based on Gemma Derrick’s recent book, and make sure you write your case study with the evaluators in mind.

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Weave a story through your REF Impact Case Study – 3 tips from a professional writer

Narrative style and structure can make a significant difference to how your REF impact case study is perceived. Get advice from professional writer Chris Simms to build a stronger narrative in your case study.

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REF impact case studies – are single researcher or group submissions better?

People often worry about submitting case studies with large groups, or alone, but which is better?

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Has the bar been raised for REF2021?

This guide explains how and why it might be more difficult to get top scores in REF2021 compared to REF2014. If you want to compete at the top end, you will need to invest in evidence.

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Does REF create a conflict of interest for researchers who are submitting impacts?

Consider the implicit conflicts of interest created by the impact agenda and how you might avoid being perceived as conflicted.

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3 ways to identify additional impact case studies for REF2021

If you are short on case studies for REF2021, this guide might help you identify eligible cases that you might otherwise have overlooked.

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See all known 4*  case studies from REF2014 here

Celebrating your unsung impacts here 

Get help with your REF impact case study


REF impact masterclass webinar here

REF impact case study group review here

Find out more about Bella Reichard's case study review service here

Related podcasts


What makes a 4* case study in REF2014 paper (part 1)

Bella Reichard and Mark Reed read from their new paper analysing high versus low-scoring impact case studies from REF2014

What makes a 4* case study in REF2014 paper (part 2)

Bella Reichard and Mark Reed read from their new paper analysing high versus low-scoring impact case studies from REF2014

What makes a 4* case study in REF2014 paper (part 3)

Bella Reichard and Mark Reed discuss how their new paper analysing high versus low-scoring impact case studies from REF2014 can be used to write more effective case studies, drawing from their experience advising Universities across the UK on their REF submissions.