2. Measuring impact

Once you understand the contribution your archive makes to the strategic priorities or values of its parent institution or funders, you can start to collect data and stories that demonstrate this impact.


  • Identify the service or short-term outcomes the archive delivers. Consider using an outcomes framework or logic model to develop this (see section ‘Strategic alignment’).
  • Identify what data or stories you currently collect to help you demonstrate how you deliver these outcomes.
  • Identify any gaps in your data collection. Create methods to collect these stories or data.
  • Use evidence from other services or national research that show how archives can deliver these outcomes.

Guidance and resources

Evaluation toolkit for museums by Share Museums East (2020). While aimed at museums, this toolkit gives an excellent introduction to evaluation and data collection methods. The principles behind some of the data collection methods such as focus groups, interviews, observation, and questionnaires will be relevant to HE archives.

A guide to collaboration for archives and higher education that we created with History UK (2018). Section 5 of this report provides an overview on capturing impact in the archives and HE sectors including the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Stories guide by Better Evaluation. This is a short online resource on how to collect stories and use storytelling in evaluation.

Relevant case study

In case study 2, the archive has started to think about how it captures impact more effectively and communicates this using an impact report.