Evidencing Impact


What does evidence of impact look like?

Evidence of impact may be a qualitative and/or quantitative indicator(s) or documentation that corroborates a contribution/change to society as a result of your research findings.  

The Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) guidance provides an extremely useful table offering examples of a wide range of impacts, alongside the corresponding types of evidence to support those impact claims.   

It is important to understand the difference between evidence of activity (engagement and Knowledge Exchange) and evidence of impact (the change that may occur as a result of that activity).

For example, presenting your research findings to policymakers is a Knowledge Exchange activity; the impact may be a change in their understanding and subsequent policy actions as a result of your presentation.

It follows that evaluation of your impact-related activity is essential:

  • to generate evidence of impact;
  • to develop an in-depth understanding of the nature of the impact that has occurred;
  • to understand whether any secondary or tertiary impacts have been generated;
  • to inform and enhance future research and Knowledge Exchange activities.

Find out more about impact and evaluation.

Store details of your engagement and Knowledge Exchange activities and evidence of impact in the University's Knowledge Exchange & Impact repository.