The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) published its latest report on the Academic Experience of Students in English Universities. Based on 9,000 interviews with full time undergraduate students at English universities, the fieldwork and data analysis were completed by YouthSight. This is the fourth wave of research. Larger waves were undertaken for HEPI by YouthSight (OpinionPanel) in 2006 and 2007. A small, supplementary study based on just 1000 interviews was also published in 2009.
YouthSight managing director Ben Marks commented, “We’d like to extend congratulations to HEPI for completing this report and our thanks to HEPI Director (and report author) Bahram Bekhradnia for his kind acknowledgement of our help in the survey design and data analysis.” Marks continued, “Once again, we were pleased to be able to help HEPI in the production of this important research. From our perspective, it’s an excellent showcase of our fieldwork capabilities in a specialist marketplace – among young people, students and young professionals.”
In common with most of the earlier waves of research, this survey was based on a highly structured sample of 9,000 full time undergraduates, in Years 1 and 2 of their degrees, studying at English universities, with quotas set for gender, course year, subject area and institution type. The identities of all the respondents had previously been checked by verifying academic ‘ac.uk’ email addresses. Respondents were paid a small incentive (of £1) for taking the time to complete their questionnaires. All the data was checked and analysed by YouthSight’s experienced operations team, to HEPI’s specification.
The report has been widely covered in the press, including Radio Four’s Today Programme, Times Higher Education, BBC Online, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent and the Mail Online. As in previous waves, the report raises important questions for the HE sector and seems to divide opinion quite strongly. David Willets, the Universities and Science Minister has also commented on the research.