Research Assessment In Higher Education: The Impact On Institutions, Staff And Educational Research In Scotland

Sally Brown
Vol 27, Number 1-2, p.141
The UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) has profound effects on research, but also on teaching, individuals’ careers and institutional competition. This paper exemplifies these effects for educational research in Scotland. It examines the politics of research selectivity and the impact of new forms of UK government on assessment and funding. Procedures, developments and difficulties of judging research quality are discussed, and commentary is offered on the ways the system has been received by staff with differing views about their role in higher education. Reorganisation of higher education in Scotland and rather modest performances in education from previous RAEs are addressed along with measures that have been taken to improve research quality and capacity. However, currently there are considerable unknowns about the move after 2008 to a new UK scheme, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), which is likely to depend heavily on metrics and less on peer review. There might even be a different approach just for Scottish institutions