In the United Kingdom the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is a major method of assessing research from Higher Education institutions. Participation is not compulsory, and anecdotal evidence suggests that many eligible institutions did not enter the Unit of Assessment for nursing (UoA 10). In this paper, Bruce Lindsay, Michael Pfeil and Kaen Bates describe a study designed to establish the approach to the 2001 RAE taken by institutions that were eligible to enter the nursing unit but had not done so. This included an assessment of their rationales for not entering UoA 10, and an analysis of the grades awarded to tose that entered nursing research in other UoAs. The study identified a small group of researchers whose work informs a range of health and social care disciplines. Their non-submission to UoA 10 may have resulted from a lack of clarity about criteria for this Unit: future RAEs could improve the standard of UoA 10 by producing clearer guidelines for submissions.