Guidance for Presenting Quantitative Data within Impact Case Studies

HEFCE (now Research England) on behalf of the four UK higher education bodies commissioned RAND Europe to:

  • Identify quantitative indicators of impact in the case studies submitted to REF 2014; and
  • Develop guidance for how these indicators could be standardised for potential use in REF 2021.

In particular, the report proposed guidance for two broad categories of standards:

  1. a ‘style guide’ containing general stylistic items that could be standardised in order to make quantitative indicators of impact and specific formulations of them more discoverable in general;
  2. ‘specific guidance’ addressing more specific and commonly occurring quantitative indicators that have been used as evidence of impact in the REF 2014 case studies.

Full details of the above report ‘Guidance for standardising quantitative indicators of impact within REF case studies’ is available at, under Guidance.  A summary of this guidance, prepared by Innovation & Impact, can be found here.

The guidance presented in this report informed the development of the guidance and criteria for the preparation of impact case studies in REF 2021.

In the publication ‘Draft guidance on submissions’ (REF 2018/01), it states that, ‘when writing case studies, submitting units should refer to these guidelines for presenting quantitative data’.

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