Evidencing impact: The When, the What, and the How

These pages will help you understand what could be provided as evidence of the change with some practical information on collecting it.


There are no universal answers to the question of how to evidence impact. What an individual or group of researchers will need to gather to demonstrate the impact of their research will depend on both the research and impact that has been (or is hoped to be achieved) achieved.

When to collect evidence:

Evidencing the impact along the way. The research use should be reviewed regularly to capture interim and unforeseen impact.
At the start of the research project or partnership gather information on the current external situation. This baseline will allow you to identify the change that your research contributed to over time.

What to collect: 

Impact is often described in terms of reach and significance.

Simply put, this is the breadth of potential beneficiaries that have been affected and how much they benefited or a situation changed.

Some impacts may be demonstrated through a single piece of information, however more often a credible series of independently verifiable qualitative and quantitative indicators or proxy measures need to be brought together to demonstrate impact.

Quantitative and Qualitative evidence:
Quantitative evidence, e.g. attendance data, patient numbers, sales, statistics or organisation uptake, should be collected to describe the reach.

Qualitative evidence provides the understanding as to the context of the issue and significance of the impact.

How: Types of Evidence

Getting started

Event feedback and follow-up

Awards, Independant reviews & Media

Social media and online statistics

Testimonials and correspondance

Where to keep evidence:

You should have an easily accessible place to store the evidence of your impact. The impact module on MyPublications can be used to store evidence.