Official Rankings: Research Assessment Exercise

The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is a piece of research that is carried out approximately every five years and is conducted on behalf of four UK higher education funding councils. The purpose of the RAE is to assess the quality of the research that is being carried out by UK higher educational institutions.

What Makes The RAE A Good Source Of Ranking Data?

The RAE is a good source of ranking data for postgraduates as it enables students to look at what the quality the research a university is conducting really is like. This is important as all postgraduate courses will require you to carry out a piece of research as part of your studies. By looking at the RAE you can see how good research coming out of a prospective university is and decide whether the quality is good enough for your standards.

How Is The RAE Carried Out?

Official UK Postgraduate Rankings: Research Assessment Exercise The RAE is carried out by evaluating research that has been published by a university. This means looking at academic papers, journals and things such as conference proceedings. The exercise also takes into consideration the research environment that a university has to offer.

The research is then marked using a 4-point scale:

1* - Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
2* - Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
3* - Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which nonetheless falls short of the highest standards of excellence.
4* - Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
Unclassified - Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work, or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.

Advantages of the RAE

•    The results are easily available on the RAE website .
•    It is ideal for postgraduates as it is less orientated towards undergraduates then many of the other ranking sources.
•    It’s carried out on behalf of a number of credible sources.

Disadvantages of The RAE

•    The RAE isn’t conducted that regularly so can be seen as outdated.
•    Staff at universities may move to another establishment or retire in between times and this can change the quality of the research a university produces quite a bit.
•    The RAE doesn’t tell you anything about university life.

Click here to view the Research Assessment Exercise website.

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