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Research impact for Education: a self-help guide

Trends across disciplines

We know that different disciplines display different behaviors and distribution as well as citation patterns for various types of research outputs.

  • Journal articles are the primary output for many disciplines
  • Monographs and book chapters are particularly important for many disciplines within the humanities and social sciences
  • Conference contributions are important for computer scientists and engineers
  • Art works, artefacts and practice-based outputs are likely to play an important role for arts-based disciplines
  • Other outputs might include audio-visual recordings, technical drawings, patents, website content, software, exhibitions, working papers, research reports, policy documents, etc.
  • The outputs in education is predominated by authored books, book chapters in edited books, journal articles, research reports for external bodies, etc.

Tracking the impact of grey literature

Grey literature is heavily used and highly valued for policy work.

Policy grey literature is produced for impact and often paid for by public funds.

  1. The most important reason to produce material for more than 90% of organisations is to contribute to the evidence base and inform public policy.
  2. Other aims are to translate knowledge for public use (84%), and to maximise public access to research and information (79%). 

The most important or very important resources used [by policy workers] are reports (81%), journal articles (75%), discussion papers (69%), briefings, reviews and guides (66%), and data sets (61%). **Houghton, L.A., Thomas, J., & Weldon, P. (2014). Where is the evidence: Realising the value of grey literature for public policy and practice. Melbourne: Swinburne Institute for Social Research. Retrieved from **

I want to track the impact for a prominent report (government or technical), working paper, research briefing or other grey literature. What can I do and where can I go to collect evidence to illustrate the impact of our work? We will present a case study to show how some of the additional resources have been used to collect this kinds of evidence. Adapt this case study to your specific context. Contact XXX is you want to....

Sources for tracking evidence of impact of non-traditional works

The suggestions below could be used to supplement the finding from traditional sources such as Web of Science (SSCI), Scopus, Google Scholar and now Altmetric for institutions discussed elsewhere in this guide.