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Research Impact: Social impact

Making an impact and measuring the impact of your research

Impact ; news ways of measuring

For the first time the Research Excellence Framework in 2014 is asking for Universities to demonstrate the impact of research beyond academia. Therefore many researchers are looking for ways to demonstrate how they engage with business, the public sector, civil society organisations and communities. The REF will now focus on outputs, impact and environment of the research.


We've included on this page some areas and websites to consider when you're looking to demonstrate the social, economic or cultural impact of your research and what affect it has outside of traditional metrics of academia.

You need to think about ways to provide evidence of the impact.

Looking for evidence of reviews in the media

   (Image credit: NS Newsflash)

Has your work been cited in local, national and international newspapers?

Has the media cited your work or reported it was used in public debate?

We have a range of subscriptions to newspapers resources, however Lexis®Library covers UK national and regional newspapers from the 1980s/1990s to the present day. Once logged in, click on the "news" tab.

If you want to search wider, take a look at our Newspapers Library Guide.

Social Media

Social media offers ways to reach our to readers, promote your research, gain feedback and engage in discussions. Are you monitoring social media? Keeping track of reviews, blogs and other postings?

Our social media for research library guide highlights different platforms and provide some interesting examples of how other researchers and projects are using social media tools.


Looking for evidence of policy debate

Has your work been used in policy debate or cited in material produced by non governmental organisations?

Take a look at Parliament UK or use our Government Publications Library guide to source select committee reports, public policy, legislation and guidelines.

Want to engage with UK Parliament?

Dr Matthew Flinders has written a useful article suggesting ways researchers might want to try and engage with Parliament.



Looking for evidence on international development

Can you demonstrate changes to International development policies or evidence of use in other countries?

United Nations



"Google yourself"


Use web search engines such as Google to see where your research has been picked up by external users. Keep a record of anything you find; you can't guarantee it will be there when you search again.