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The higher education councils for England and Wales and the Scottish funding council asked RAND Europe to review the preparation process for the impact element of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 within higher education institutions in the UK, in order to assess the process and understand how it could be further improved.

This report provides an in-depth analysis of the data gathered and is supported by a Findings and observations report that details the headlines from our analysis. It is intended for those responsible for the REF and, more broadly, for those in the higher education sector. It may also be of interest to others working in the evaluation of research impact.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Results from the site visits

  • Chapter Three

    Results from the survey analysis

  • Chapter Four

    Results from the interviews with research users

  • Chapter Five

    Results from the cost analysis

  • Chapter Six

    Synthesis and conclusions

  • Appendix A

    List of panels and units of assessment for REF 2014

  • Appendix B

    Selection of HEIs

  • Appendix C

    Semi-structured protocol for site visit interviews

  • Appendix D

    NVivo code book for coding interviewee responses from the site visits

  • Appendix E

    Survey protocol for impact case study (REF3b) lead authors

  • Appendix F

    Survey protocol for impact template (REF3a) lead authors

  • Appendix G

    NVivo code book for analysing the qualitative survey responses from impact case study and impact template authors

  • Appendix H

    Protocols for individual and organisational interviews

  • Appendix I

    Cost estimation worksheet

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and was conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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