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Section III: Panelsí Criteria and Working Methods

3.57 Drama, Dance and Performing Arts, UoA 66

UoA Descriptor

3.57.1 The UoA includes: Drama, Theatre, Dance and Performance Analysis; Drama, Theatre, Dance and Performance History; Drama, Theatre, Dance and Performance Practice; Film, TV and Video Analysis; Film, TV and Video History; Film, TV and Video Practice; and including: Dramaturgy and Theatre Translation; Gender and Performance; Popular Performance; Scenography; New Technologies and Performance; Theatre Performance; Performance Documentation and Reconstruction. Live Art; Choreography; Dance Education and Health; Community Performance; Performance Anthropology; Drama and Dance/Movement Therapies; and related specialist areas.

Interdisciplinary Research

3.57.2 The Panel recognises that certain drama, dance and performing-arts related research might be equally appropriately submitted to other Panels. The Panel is conscious of the multi-disciplinary nature of work within drama, dance and performing arts, and it will refer submitted items to other panels or specialist advisers wherever it is appropriate to do so, in addition to those mandatory cross-referrals which have been requested. In these cases, final decisions on ratings will rest with the Panel for Drama, Dance and Performing Arts and will be reached against its criteria.

Treatment of Evidence

3.57.3 The Panel will primarily base its assessment of submissions on its subjective but professionally informed judgement of the quality of all forms of research output. It will judge the quality of the research context and culture, as indicated by evidence of strategic planning for research, and the vitality and prospects for development of the department.

3.57.4 The following section related to output is in alphabetical order, and no hierarchy is implied.

Research Outputs (RA2)

Practice as Research

3.57.5 The Panel recognises the importance of practical research to the research cultures of many departments and individual researchers. It aims to give equal value to practical research outcomes, treating them as fully equivalent to other types of research output. Practice as research outcomes may include, for example:

  1. performances and other types of live presentation;
  2. play scripts or other texts for performance;
  3. films, videos and other types of media presentation;
  4. workshops and other types of practical project;
  5. other non-textual public output, provided they can be shown to have entered the public domain.

3.57.6 No rank order is implied by the above list; nor is it an exclusive list. Practical output which demonstrably embodies original research as defined by the RAE will be assessed on an equal basis with other outputs.

3.57.7 It is the Panel's view that any practice in drama, dance or performing arts may qualify as research when it can be shown to interrogate itself; to be located in a research context; and to produce, when appropriate, further outcomes (such as critical appraisals and other types of publication, subsequent practical projects, etc.) or otherwise achieve a wider significance for research in drama, dance and performing arts, provided that it meets the definition of research in the RAE. In deciding on which items of practice as research to submit, researchers may wish to consider carefully the degree to which such items are driven by a research imperative, in the light of the definition of research in the RAE.

3.57.8 For practice-based research, additional information is requested. This should be entered in the 'Other relevant details' field in form RA2. The information provided should include, where applicable:- (a) role of the researcher; chief collaborators/participants; venues(s); dates; number of performances/showings/workshops; other outcomes/forms of dissemination; documentation available; funding, (b) a brief statement as described below.

3.57.9 Those submitting practice as research should include a succinct statement, of not more than 300 words, for each item in this category listed under their name in the 'Other relevant details' field on RA2. The Panel will view such statements as integral to the research they describe. The statements will be used to assist the Panel in reviewing the research output concerned and, where appropriate, to decide on which parts of the submission to examine in detail by requesting further material, such as videos or other forms of documentation. The succinct statements should make clear how the practice embodies research as defined in the RAE. They may, for example, and where appropriate, include an indication of aims and objectives, methodologies and procedures, concerns and focus of the practice within its disciplinary, institutional or other context.


3.57.10 In assessing text-based publications, the Panel will give attention to the following types of material:-

  1. Articles in refereed academic and (where appropriate) professional and other journals
  2. Books (including: monographs, scholarly editions, translations and documentation, collections of essays, original works, edited volumes of scholarly essays and gatherings of source materials)
  3. Chapters in books
  4. Conference papers (refereed)
  5. Digital and broadcast media
  6. Editorship of journals/series, etc
  7. Review articles of substance
  8. Short works/occasional papers/teaching materials (where they can be shown to embody research).

No rank order is implied by the above list; nor is it an exclusive list.

3.57.11 Each item will be evaluated on its individual merits. Evidence of peer review will be noted, but the absence of peer review will not be taken to imply absence of quality.

Assessment of Practice

3.57.12 The Panel recognises that there is a range of media in which practical work may enter the public domain, including: live performance, film, video, audio-tape, and various kinds of digital media. The Panel will be aided in the evaluation of research in these media by the succinct statements of practice as research, but it may also wish to have access to other material. Supporting material should be appropriate, selective and focussed on research outcomes. As the Panel will not rank publishers or journals, so it will not rank venues for practice. Where a practice results in multiple outcomes the researcher should indicate the outcome for inclusion in RA2 which best represents the nature of the project as a whole.

3.57.13 In assessing the quality of practice as research, the Panel will judge, as appropriate, the factors listed in 3.57.12 and the degree of impact that the work represents on a national or international level. The Panel recognises that in practice as research international quality and significance can be achieved without direct dissemination overseas. As appropriate, such practice should be located in its international context in the succinct statement of practice as research in form RA2 and, where appropriate, an indication of any direct dissemination internationally may be given. The Panel understands 'international quality' to apply to works which are comparable in quality to the best work conducted in that field at a global level, irrespective of its specific geographical location. The statement on international criteria in Section 2.6 of RAE 2/99 will guide the Panel in its deliberations on the international quality of particular practices submitted as research. The Panel will not equate international excellence with work on international themes; nor will it equate work on local or national themes with national excellence. Cognate areas may include: Art and Design (UoA 64), Communication, Culture and Media Studies (UoA 65), and Music (UoA 67).

Assessment of Publications

3.57.14 Given the large number of submissions, it cannot be guaranteed that the Panel will previously have read all the cited works. The Panel will review the outputs submitted and, taking account of the types of research represented, will select individual items for detailed attention. Items will be selected which, in the Panel's judgement, informed by the department's statements of its research programme and culture, provide the best basis for assessing the quality of the submission as a whole. In assessing the quality of cited publications the Panel will judge, as appropriate, factors such as: originality, depth, range, clarity, imaginative power, scholarly rigour, critical judgement, disciplinary significance, and the degree of impact (that is, the extent to which knowledge, understanding and insight are increased) which the work represents on a national or international level. The Panel will not rank publishers or journals.

Treatment of Cited Works

3.57.15 The citing of less than four works by an individual researcher is entirely acceptable to the Panel. Each case will be looked at on its own merits. The Panel is aware that long-term research projects may not readily present themselves for submission on an arbitrary calendar.

3.57.16 Where the Panel is satisfied that a department has elected to recruit and bring on new researchers rather than recruit only established workers, it would be reasonable for this to be recognised, particularly where there is clear evidence of an established research culture. In this context the Panel recognises the completion of a PhD by members of staff as representing significant research although the PhD thesis is not submittable.

Quantitative Information

3.57.17 The assessment of the quality of output will be tested against quantitative information (RA1, RA3a, RA3b and RA4), informed by the Panel's assessment of research organisation, future plans (RA5) and general observations (RA6). The number of higher degrees awarded and the number of studentships will be regarded as indicators of quality, with higher research degrees, and doctorates in particular, rated more highly than studentships. Evidence of peer-reviewed scholarships will be noted, but the absence of peer review will not be taken to imply absence of quality.

3.57.18 External research income will be used as a measure of peer judgement of standing in relation to an individual researcher's previous achievements, or promise. However, the Panel is properly more concerned with outcome than with income.

Textual Commentary

3.57.19 The Panel will look for clear evidence of a research culture. Well-defined objectives will be viewed as more impressive than generalised descriptions of intent. Where statements are made about research outputs or research activities, they should be easily verifiable. The Panel will be concerned to identify in particular evidence of vitality in the department and the potential to develop and support research in the future. Inward and outward movement of research active staff may be drawn attention to under the above headings as appropriate. Departments may wish to use these parts of the submission to draw attention to and justify research emphases, particularly where they relate to practice. Practice as research that is demonstrated to be integral to the individual researcher's research programme, and to the research culture of the Department as a whole, will receive credit. The Panel invites submitting departments to structure their RA5/6 statements accordingly.

3.57.20 The following list of sub headings is intended to provide guidance on issues which the Panel wishes departments to address in the textual parts of submissions RA5 and RA6:


Research Structure and Environment

3.57.21 Describe the characteristics of the department's research culture, including:

  1. Explain the mechanisms and practices for promoting research and sustaining and developing an active and vital research culture.
  2. Specify themes and/or emphases, as appropriate.
  3. Define where appropriate research groups, who contributes to them, their prime activities, how they operate and their main achievements.
  4. List other UoAs to which related work has been submitted and detail any difficulties of fit between departmental structure and the UoA framework.
  5. Describe the nature and quality of the research infrastructure, including facilities for research students.
  6. Describe any arrangements which are in place for supporting interdisciplinary or collaborative research.
  7. Provide information on relationships with industry and commerce, where appropriate, or other research users and, where appropriate, on the account taken of Government and other agencies, including international agencies, policy initiatives and objectives.

Staffing Policy

3.57.22 The Panel is anxious to ensure that circumstances of staffing are considered when making judgements, therefore the following information is requested:

  1. Describe the arrangements for the development and support of the research work of staff.
  2. Describe any arrangements which are in place for developing the research of younger and/or new researchers and for integrating them into a wider, supportive research culture.
  3. Where appropriate explain the role and contribution of category A* staff who have joined the department.
  4. Where appropriate, comment on how the departure of staff in categories A*, B and D has affected the strength, coherence and research culture of the department at the census date.

Additional Observations

3.57.23 Comment on the balance of and relationship between different modes of research and types of output, within the submission.

Research Strategy

3.57.24 Provide a statement about the main objectives and activities in research over the next five years. The Panel's attention should be drawn to ongoing research work that is not producing immediate visible outcomes.

Self Assessment

3.57.25 Provide a self assessment of research achievement in relation to the issues detailed above. Credit will be given for honest, self-critical and constructive self-assessments

3.57.26 Where relevant, research plans put forward in the 1996 RAE will be evaluated.


Evidence of Esteem

3.57.27 The Panel will take a flexible approach in evaluating indicators of peer esteem. In so doing it will take account of the plurality of practices in the UoA and the complexity of circumstances affecting individual and departmental research programmes. The department may include indicators of national and international recognition.

Individual Staff Circumstances

3.57.28 The Panel will note any individual staff circumstances which have significantly affected their contribution to the submission (for example: periods of maternity leave, sick leave, career breaks, engagement on long-term projects, etc.)

Contributions by Non Research-active Staff

3.57.29 Institutions may also wish to discuss the relative contribution made to research by staff who have not been returned as research active.

Assessment Process

3.57.30 Individual panel members will review all submission documents in detail, including all the succinct statements of practice as research. Before making judgements, the Panel collectively will examine in detail not less then 50% of research outputs, seeking specialist advice where appropriate. Supporting material for practice as research cited in RA2 will be requested selectively. Panel members will apply their own expertise, taking additional specialist advice where necessary, conduct their own preliminary assessments and provide provisional ratings for departments. The Panel will create a sub-panel in respect of film, TV and video analysis, history and practice. The Panel also anticipates seeking specialist advice in respect of works in Welsh language and new technologies. Specialist advice for other areas will be called on as necessary.

3.57.31 Two Panel members will be nominated to speak on behalf of each submission. The provisional ratings will be used to initiate discussion and to identify submissions on which individual members have different views. Submissions will be discussed by the entire Panel before a final rating is agreed. In addition, issues of principle that apply to the UoA will be discussed by the whole Panel, and reviewed at regular intervals. The Panel recognises the multi-faceted nature of the disciplines covered and the positive inter-disciplinary nature of much work. It will take into account any discussion of this in RA6. In making its final judgement the Panel will be concerned with the total submission rather than its individual parts. The Panel will assess quantitative data in the light of its qualitative judgements. The Panel will bear collective responsibility for all final ratings. Wherever possible the Panel will make its decisions by consensus. Where a consensus cannot be reached, the Panel will vote, with the Chair having the casting vote in the case of a tie. The ratings will be revisited at the final meeting of the Panel to moderate between submissions graded at different times.

3.57.32 Where their advice may be helpful, other panels will be consulted. In addition, the Panel will seek affirmation from a small number of non-UK based experts, who will read the submission for all potential 5* and 5 rated departments, and a selection of potential 4 rated departments.

Last updated 17 April 2000

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