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Understanding Stakeholder Perceptions

Supporting institutions to understand and identify complex challenges through the perceptions of key stakeholders

Institutions are facing complex challenges in an ever changing context. To name a few: delivery modes post-pandemic; mental health and wellbeing; perceptions on value; and, the ‘culture wars’. Advance HE supports institutions to understand and identify complex challenges through the perceptions of key stakeholders to develop appropriate strategies and solutions.

Our expertise lies in conducting staff, student and other key stakeholder facing research through a fully combined qualitative and quantitative offer, including student surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups. We also bring in-depth knowledge of the sector through the design and analysis of some of the largest surveys in the sector, as well as our annual HE statistical reports.

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Our approach

Advance HE take a qualitative and quantitative approach to understand the challenges through the perceptions of key stakeholders. We will work with an institution to identify key stakeholder groups. These groups can include:

  • students
  • staff
  • prospective applicants
  • teachers
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Our surveys help institutions understand and enhance student and stakeholder experience and engagement, benchmark performance, and pinpoint where interventions are most needed. Our tailored survey-based approach will enable us to provide a robust identification of the key issues affecting staff, student experience and student choice. This can be conducted at both an overall and individual subject-area level, where numbers allow.

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Focus groups and interviews

Conducting a qualitative phase will enable us to analyse and obtain a deeper understanding of the drivers of stakeholder perceptions. This could be complementary to a survey by delving into some of the issues identified in more detail, or be used as a stand-alone in-depth approach.  Focus groups and interviews can target audiences in specific groups, geographies or other categories of particular interest.

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How our work could benefit your institution

By working with Advance HE’s experienced Insights Team, institutions can:

  • understand the perceptions of prospective students, parents and teachers when deciding on an applicant’s degree provider choice in order to inform and maximise curriculum design
  • understand the end-to end student experience and evaluate student outcomes
  • understand staff perceptions on mental health, wellbeing and culture to inform people strategies and change programmes.
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Working with the University of Portsmouth

Advance HE worked with the University of Portsmouth to understand the choices made by A level applicants and undergraduate students in Science & Health subjects to help shape how the client institution put together its recruitment offer for 23/24. Together we worked to the following objectives:

  • The choices being made by prospective students studying A levels and those who have opted to study selected Science and Health subjects at other universities
  • The reaction and response of this group to the student offer, in all its aspects, at the institution
  • The reasons why A level or undergraduate students aren’t attracted to the institution’s offer
  • What prospective and undergraduate students are looking for in related (where possible) degrees from a potential provider
  • The role school and college staff play in influencing or guiding student degree provider choice

Our multi-pronged approach comprised quantitative panel interviews with students and applicants, depth interview follow ups and interviews with teachers at feeder schools across the wider region.

Read the case study
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