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The Brilliant Club

PhD Community Research

The brief

The Brilliant Club is an educational charity that supports less advantaged students in accessing higher education. Their long-term aim is for all researchers in the UK to be aware of them and to feel motivated to support their cause. 

They commissioned Shift to conduct research into: the levels of awareness of The Brilliant Club among PhD and academic researchers; attitudes towards the organisation; and how best to tailor their messaging to effectively engage with the academic community.

The approach

We used a mixed-methods approach, so that The Brilliant Club could benefit from both detail-rich qualitative data, and measurable quantitative findings.

  • A focus group with current Brilliant Club tutors explored sentiment towards the organisation, motivations for joining, and how messaging could be targeted. This group was recruited by The Brilliant Club and facilitated by Shift.
  • An online survey with the academic community explored awareness of The Brilliant Club, feelings around their current messaging and marketing, and motivations around working for educational charities. The survey was designed and disseminated by Shift, using our panel of educators and students.  

The value

  • By facilitating the focus group, we were able to ensure that The Brilliant Club was provided with unbiased data where tutors felt free to give their honest opinions. We provided The Brilliant Club with recordings and transcripts of this session.
  • We provided The Brilliant Club with survey data, anonymised to protect respondent confidentiality, to interrogate further; next steps may involve further analysis and persona creation.
  • We produced a summary report for both quantitative and qualitative outputs, outlining the key findings and offering some recommendations for next steps.