The breadth of experience and expertise has allowed us to conduct mixed-method projects of varying sizes, including two major evidence reviews on equality, diversity and inclusion challenges and interventions in research and innovation for UK Research and Innovation. Our projects use a range of research methodologies such as surveys, focus groups, depth interviews, case studies and literature/systematic reviews. Our strength in delivering robust research to the sector is complemented by our sound knowledge of EDI, as well as other areas of Advance HE’s work.
Research team projects
Annual statistical reports
Every year, Advance HE’s Research team produces a series of statistical reports on equality for staff and students in UK higher education, using comprehensive data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
Externally funded work
The Research team are involved in a number of longer-term, external projects:
- ACT Horizon 2020 – Advance HE was commissioned alongside several other HE and research organisations across the EU. Advance HE’s role involved the design of a gender equality and monitoring survey to be used across HE and research institutions across Europe. In March 2020, Kevin Guyan, Head of Knowledge and Research, presented on this research at the STRATEGIES on Sustainable Gender Equality, Consolidation Workshop, Evaluation and Impact Assessment Community of Practice in Paris, France.
- Office for Students Catalyst Fund Evaluation – The OfS commissioned Advance HE to support and enable learning, disseminate innovative and good practice from Catalyst-funded projects, and help establish ‘what works?’ in relation to safeguarding students. The funding covered three safeguarding topic areas, and the round three evaluation looked at the extent to which the funding had encouraged positive change around tackling issues related to religion and belief and hate crime/incidents. An interim evaluation was published in October 2019 and a summative account will be provided in 2020, to assess change over time.
The Research team are experienced in conducting bespoke research for individual institutions and other public bodies and organisations. We deliver two audits for higher education institutions: Equality Audits and Bullying and Harassment Audits, which help institutions develop a clear picture of where they stand and help raise the profile of equality issues with staff. This includes bullying and harassment and EDI audits. You can find out more about our Bespoke Equality Research here.
Case study: Edge Hill University
Edge Hill University is firmly established as one of the top post-1992 universities and has a Gold ranking in the Teaching Excellence Framework. In 2018 it won a Global Teaching Excellence Spotlight Award in recognition of ‘the quality of support and engagement infrastructure for students’.
The institution prides itself on being a champion of widening participation since it was established in 1885 as the UK’s first women’s non-denominational teacher training college. Since then, the theme of opportunity for all has remained a key component of the institution’s vision and is embedded throughout its activities.
Edge Hill recognised its successes among students, but strongly felt it needed to progress its equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) agenda and work among staff. Following the appointment of a new EDI Manager, Edge Hill wished to formalise their approach to EDI among staff and establish a new EDI Steering Group.
Edge Hill University therefore commissioned Advance HE’s research team to conduct a bespoke EDI review of its policies and to gather qualitative staff experiences.
The Research team undertakes research into the protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act and how they intersect. For example, a newly published report looks at the differences in student outcomes by their religion or belief, with a focus on attainment. This report is the first of its kind to examine how student outcomes may differ according to religion and belief.
There are also a number of published research briefings designed to introduce practitioners and other officials working in equality and diversity in the higher education sector to research methodologies and considerations. Future topics will include effective evaluation, as well as sustainable practices in gender equality research.
Meet the team
You can find out more about Advance HE’s in-house Research team here: