English Heritage Research Resources Strategy

English Heritage has prepared a Strategy for developing Research Resources. This strategy will guide the development of a new generation of Research Frameworks and provide a prioritisation process for Reference Resources, which is based on need, timeliness and value for money.

What are Research Resources?

Research Frameworks provide an overview of the current state of knowledge and understanding about the historic environment, any gaps in this knowledge and a list of potential research areas and strategic priorities. They can cover a specific geographical area, period or theme; for example the Regional Research Frameworks.

Reference Resources include a wide range of typologies, classifications, thesauri and works of syntheses covering such topics as archaeological and building objects, types and materials. They are the essential building blocks of historic environment research.

Aim of the Strategy

To ensure, within the context of the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP), that historic environment investigation is undertaken within a positive and progressive research culture to maximise public benefit and value for money.


  • To promote, in response to the Southport Group report (2011), a better-coordinated research culture and better-informed heritage protection results from commercial investigations.
  • To develop key research tools required to ensure the efficient functioning of the National Planning Policy Framework.
  • To set out the criteria for English Heritage funding of Research Resources within the context of the NHPP and the essential Supporting Actions that underpin the Plan.

Action Plan

The Action Plan, setting out the work required to deliver this Strategy, is currently being developed.  It will be delivered in three phases: 

  • Evaluation of the current situation.
  • Identification and prioritisation of gaps.
  • Scoping and testing of new options and methods.