The need for institutional research in Australian tertiary institutions appears to be expanding. It is spurred on by the increased demands for institutional accountability and assessment, coupled with developments in planning and policy analysis, in a climate of diminishing resources. It is in this context that we thought it might be interesting, and timely, to prepare a paper to consider some of the practical issues confronted by an institutional research unit which is centrally involved in a university's integrated strategic planning and budgeting processes. In this presentation we will discuss issues such as role identity and the plight of institutional researchers, location in the organisational hierarchy, proliferation of functions and tasks and communication of results (this is closely linked with having an impact). Examples taken from specific projects currently being undertaken by the Institutional Research Unit will be used to illustrate the issues and, where applicable, we will discuss a number of the strategies we have used in an attempt to address them. I would hope that members of the audience can relate to the types of issues discussed and perhaps the question session could be one in which we can compare experiences and share possible solutions. Before launching into the issues section of the paper it would seem appropriate to give some background to the Institutional Research Unit (IRU) of University of Western Australia.