WHAT IS THE MEANING OF IMPACT IN RELATION TO RESEARCH AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? When we first set out to develop and test innovative approaches to impact evaluation, we expected there would be most need for innovation around data analysis and causal inference. 3 is identified as the influence, effect, demonstrable contribution, change or benefits that result from the research. This is what we found in The Methods Lab research project. The context within which that impact takes place is broad beyond academia in the realms of society, economy, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life. Definitions of impact; The changing academic viewpoint on impact; Some challenges confronted; The emerging picture of impact; Impact is a commonly used term but in the research context it is gaining more importance. ‘Impact’ is a term we use so often in so many different contexts, has it lost its meaning – and is it still useful?