Our potential case study leads for REF2021 have recently submitted the second draft of their impact case studies, which will be assessed as part of an internal peer review process in April. Twenty of these will then also be selected for external peer review in June.
At this stage in the process, feedback from colleagues can be key in ensuring that the case studies reach their full potential. Following the internal and external peer reviews we will have just over a year to generate some more impact, collect impact evidence and refine the narrative further before the REF submission deadline.
With this in mind, here are a few key points for our case study leads, or indeed anyone submitting an ‘impact statement’ for funding purposes or similar, to consider.
Key points to remember:
• Convincingly demonstrate the robustness and quality of the underpinning research in the first instance
• Distinguish between the underpinning research and resulting impact: establish the causation and make sure that there is a golden thread running through the narrative
• Do not focus too heavily on dissemination at the expense of resulting impacts: make sure you are not purely describing your pathway to impact
• Clearly articulate each of the impacts claimed, and their apparent significance and reach
• Ensure there is sufficient corroboration of the impact using appropriate evidence (testimonials, quotes from key stakeholders, citations in policy documents or in the media, documented changes to guidelines etc.)
• Where web pages are used, ensure you have preserved them (screen shots etc.) and don’t just use standard links that may become broken over time
If you are looking to generate some further impact to bolster your case study, don’t forget to consider the following:
1. Create a pathways to impact statement to clearly set out the impacts you are hoping to achieve
2. Complete a publics/stakeholder analysis to identify who you are hoping to influence
3. Engage with your stakeholders at every stage in the research process
4. Identify activities to engage with your publics
5. Drive impact online by developing a social media strategy
Go to www.salford.ac.uk/ref to check out some examples of annotated case studies from our 2018 external peer review.