Table 14 Examples of formatting identified from qualitative analysis of high and low-scoring REF2014 case studies.

From: Writing impact case studies: a comparative study of high-scoring and low-scoring case studies from REF2014

Examples of formatting from high-scoring case studiesExamples of formatting from low-scoring case studies
Headings
• Meaningful and consistent
• Correspond to structure that may be signposted in Section 1 (or at start of relevant Section)
• One or two levels of subheadings
• There is a danger of breaking the text up too much at the expense of a coherent narrative
• Headings which are titles of research projects or names of researchers can give the impression that these are the focus of the case study, rather than the impact
Bullet points, lists
• List of testimonials
• Details of impact by beneficiary
• Highlighting the central research questions of projects
• In Section 2 breaking down research findings
• Bullets announce a list that is then not fully elaborated on
• Points don’t link together
• Danger of highlighting irrelevant details and therefore weakening the claim for reach and significance
Bold or italics
• Bold is used for impacts, beneficiaries, researcher names, dates, references to Section 3/5
• Italics for testimonial quotes
• Italics are less effective for impacts/beneficiaries
• Testimonials as block quotations can give the impression of taking over from the main narrative