Written by IFF Research

Higher education insight guides

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The higher education sector has experienced more challenges than most over the last few years. From student experience issues as a result of the pandemic, to a renewed focus on mental health and a need to diversify revenue streams, universities have grappled with some tough hurdles. Many of which will linger for some time to come. Despite these challenges, or perhaps confounded by them, the need for robust higher education insight to drive decisions is paramount.

If you work at a university and need actionable insight amid tight budgets and stretched resources, our series of higher education insight guides might help.

These handy guides cover different areas of research – to cover all your bases – breaking each topic down, with best practice and top tips. So whether you’d like to deliver a simple survey or want to better understand the how and whys with qualitative research, these guides should help ensure your research is robust and reliable. While delivering actionable insights that won’t just sit on the shelf.

Your higher education insight guides

Guide 1: How to run a successful project

Successful research projects are largely the result of good planning.

Before you even start to think about when and how you might conduct a research project, you need to sit down and ask yourself some key questions. These guiding principles will not only keep
you on track, but also ensure you get the insight you really need.

In the first in the series: How to run a successful university research project, we cover:

  • Being clear on your objectives
  • Choosing an appropriate methodology
  • Planning your timetable
  • Deciding what success looks like

How to run a successful university research project

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Guide 2: How to write a survey questionnaire

The questionnaire is a researcher’s most important tool! But, as with most things, the devil is in the detail.

Written well – it will yield insight to help solve your greatest challenges. Written badly – and, at best, you’ll miss your quota targets. At worst, your results will be inaccurate or misleading.

In the second of series: How to write a survey questionnaire, get top tips from our higher education researchers, including:

  • How to structure your survey to maximise response rates
  • The types of questions to include to ensure you hit your objectives
  • Wording best practice to ensure your data is accurate and reliable


How to write a survey questionnaire

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Guide 3: How to interpret and analyse data

After weeks of planning and hours collecting data, your fieldwork is complete. Now it’s time to make sense of the data. Unfortunately, this is where it’s easy to come unstuck.

Start your analysis too late and you might miss key themes emerging. And with it, the opportunity to better understand your findings.

In the third of the series, receive guidance on how to analyse and interpret data including:

  • When and how to analyse data for best results
  • How to organise your data set to save yourselves time
  • Guidance on interpreting data to maximise the insight


How to analyse and interpret data

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Guide 4: How to do qualitative research

Do you need to understand the how, what and why behind your student experience, graduate trajectories and employer engagements?

Done well, qualitative research can help you unpick behaviour and better understand perception and experience. Avoiding the dreaded paralysis by analysis.

In the fourth guide, receive top tips on how to do qualitative research in higher education including:

  • The different forms of qualitative research, and what each works best for
  • Designing an effective topic guide
  • Interviewing top tips


How to do qualitative research

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Need additional support?

If you lack the skills or resources to deliver this research yourself, then help is at hand. Our higher education research specialists can help you collect robust and reliable results, to answer the questions you’re grappling with.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help.