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The Royal Musical Association

An Analysis of British Music Research as reflected in REF2014 and RAE2008

In this section:


The Project and Headline Conclusions

The Research Excellence Framework (REF)


Methodology and Selection Procedures



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Methodology and Selection Procedures

For 2014 outputs and impact case studies, the analysis focussed on submissions to UoA 35 – Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts. Where a Music Department or conservatoire submitted separately, all items were analysed; otherwise a judgment was made as to which items to include. As a proxy to indicate the level of submission to other UoAs, Table 7 presents an analysis of titles containing ‘music’ and related terms. A similar process was applied to 2008 outputs (UoA 67 – Music).

Some caveats should be noted:

Furthermore, precise categorisation can be problematical in individual cases and might actually misrepresent the cross-boundary nature of the research. There are clear overlaps between research in music psychology and in education, and between ethnomusicology and popular music studies; while hardly any area does not relate in some way to performance studies. Aesthetics and analysis are similarly pervasive; and even the distinction between text-based research and creative practice is not entirely clear-cut. To attempt to mitigate this effect, some multiple categorisations were admitted, meaning that absolute totals in the Tables will not necessarily match precisely.

Some categories have been allocated datings, by century rather than traditional ‘musical periods’. Again, multiple datings were admitted.

The categorisation of composition and related creative practice was particularly challenging, and was the subject of extensive consultation. In order to avoid misleading or subjective interpretations of idiom or function, the categories adopted reflect musical forces and types of venue in as objective a way as possible.

Categorisation of Impact Case Studies in REF2014

Each submission included from two to four impact case studies (depending on the number of researchers submitted). The underpinning research was identified in the case study, forming the basis of the analysis presented here. Since many ICSs spanned a range of different kinds of research, they often fitted multiple categories, so no attempt has been made to allocate percentages. It should be stressed that this is not an analysis of the cited impact itself (which often extended much more widely into education, health, the creative industries, and so on); but only attempts to identify the research area from which the impact derived.

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