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Table 1 Descriptive characteristics of included studies (n = 144)

From: Looking both ways: a review of methods for assessing research impacts on policy and the policy utilisation of research

  Research impact assessments (n = 68) Intersecting studies Research use assessments (n = 67)
(n = 9)
Direction of assessment
 Forward tracing assessments 61   4
 Backward tracing assessments 7   63
 Elements of both   9  
Unit of analysisa
 Research project 48   4
 Research programme 4  
 Research centre 3  
 Research portfolio 4  
 Policy document 6   10
 Policy committee   4
 Policy process   49
 More than one unit of analysis 3 9  
Methods of assessment
 Framework used to structure assessment
  Yes 46 7 23
  No 22 2 44
 Data sources
  Multiple data sources 48   46
  Interviews only 1   5
  Survey only 13   3
  Desk analysis only 6   13
  Utilised case studies 42 8 53
  Single case study 8 4 32
  Multiple cases studies 34 4 21
 Respondentsb
  Researchers only 26 1 1
  Decision-makers only 5   17
  Researchers and decision-makers 27 5 8
  Broad range of policy actors 3 28
  1. aPrimary unit of analysis (i.e. findings reported in relation to this unit of analysis)
  2. bNot all studies have respondents (e.g. desk-based analyses)