Writing an impact case study

We believe case studies are one of the best ways to share and celebrate the impact of your research. Evidence alone can’t capture the richness of your impact story: it requires a narrative. A story to describe how your research made a difference in the world.

These stories are often text-based, but you might also consider multimedia case studies, like those we produce of the finalists of our annual Impact Competition.


On this page you will find various tools and guides to help you write the best case study possible.

Impact case study template

Our case study template [docx] is designed to make writing a case study as painless as possible. As the word count is limited, we encourage you to write concisely, avoiding technical jargon. This template doubles as the application form for our Impact Competition, so if you’re thinking about writing a case study, why not enter?

What makes an excellent case study?

This image shows what we at UCD believe goes into a good case study. These are also the three criteria that the judging panel use to assess case studies in UCD’s Impact Competition.



Case study examples

One of the best ways to learn how to write a case study is to read others:

  • UCD Case Studies – a sample of case studies from researchers at UCD, using the template above.
  • UK REF Case Studies – this database from the 2014 Research Excellence Framework contains more than 6,000 impact case studies. You can use the search function or filter by Research Subject Area to  find case studies in areas similar to your own. To see only the highest rated (4*) case studies, take a look at this webpage curated by Professor Mark Reed of Fast Track Impact.
  • Australian Research Council Case Studies – another searchable database of case studies from a national research assessment exercise.
  • University of Limerick Case Studies – you can sort this selection of case studies by QS Ranking Subject Areas and by the relevant Sustainable Development Goals.

Tips for writing your own case study

The tips in this infographic will help you tell a compelling story that celebrates the societal impact of your work. Click here to download the guide as a PDF booklet

Case study tips

Reflections on Research Impact video series

Episode 7 of NUI Galway’s nine-part video series offers further guidance on how to write an impact case study: