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A Statistical Analysis of the 1992 Research Assessment Exercise

Jim Taylor
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (Statistics in Society)
Vol. 158, No. 2 (1995), pp. 241-261
Published by: Wiley for the Royal Statistical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2983291
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2983291
Page Count: 21
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A Statistical Analysis of the 1992 Research Assessment Exercise
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Abstract

This paper reports the main results of a statistical analysis of the 1992 research assessment exercise (RAE), the purpose of which was to assess the quality of research in each subject area in all institutions of higher education in the UK. The analysis is undertaken for all 72 subject categories defined in the RAE. It provides an overview of the research activity during 1988-92 and examines the statistical relationship between the outcome of the RAE and a range of quantitative indicators based on various research outputs and inputs at institutional and subject level. A high proportion of the variation in research ratings between institutions is accounted for by only a handful of explanatory variables. Departmental size is shown to be a major explanatory variable. The statistical analysis of the RAE therefore indicates that quantitative measures of research outputs and inputs provide a useful guide to the quality of research, as determined by the process of peer review.

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