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Research impact: a narrative review

Greenhalgh, Trisha, Raftery, James, Hanney, Steve and Glover, Matthew (2016) Research impact: a narrative review BMC Medicine, 14, 78.

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Impact occurs when research generates benefits (health, economic, cultural) in addition to building the academic knowledge base. Its mechanisms are complex and reflect the multiple ways in which knowledge is generated and utilised. Much progress has been made in measuring both the outcomes of research and the processes and activities through which these are achieved, though the measurement of impact is not without its critics. We review the strengths and limitations of six established approaches (Payback, Research Impact Framework, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, monetisation, societal impact assessment, UK Research Excellence Framework) plus recently developed and largely untested ones (including metrics and electronic databases). We conclude that (1) different approaches to impact assessment are appropriate in different circumstances; (2) the most robust and sophisticated approaches are labour-intensive and not always feasible or affordable; (3) whilst most metrics tend to capture direct and proximate impacts, more indirect and diffuse elements of the research-impact link can and should be measured; and (4) research on research impact is a rapidly developing field with new methodologies on the horizon.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Greenhalgh, Trisha
Raftery, James
Hanney, Steve
Date : 23 May 2016
Funders : National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
DOI : 10.1186/s12916-016-0620-8
OA Location :
Grant Title : Health Technology Assessment programme
Uncontrolled Keywords : Research impact; Knowledge translation; Implementation science; Research utilization; Payback Framework; Monetisation; Research accountability; Health gains
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 30 Apr 2020 13:15
Last Modified : 30 Apr 2020 13:15

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