Desk research

Our team is highly experienced in conducting various types of desk research – usually to inform and extend our qualitative and quantitative research.

For example, we used a range of desk-research techniques in a multi-phase environmental analysis for the University of the West of England.

Reviews of internal data

Many of our projects start with a full review of relevant internal client data, including:

  • Existing research previously commissioned
  • Applications and enrolment data
  • Decliner surveys
  • Data on sales or revenue
  • NSS / PTES results
  • Module evaluation data

Literature reviews and systematic data analysis

We have experience of analysing a range of external quantitative data sets, including those from the OECD, UNISTATS, HESA and UCAS. We are also familiar with all the main sources of university league tables, including The Guardian and QS World University rankings. In addition, we are often required to synthesise and analyse:

  • Academic articles and books
  • News and educational specific commentary sites, such as the TES, THES or WonkHe
  • Sector skills council and employment-related research

Where required by clients, we are able to conduct a full academic literature review.

Competitor analysis

Our analysts are experienced in working for education sector clients, identifying competitor sets and gathering public information on them. We tend to collect information including mission and purpose, financial standing and ownership, key products, services or course offer, messaging and communications, and reputation in terms of rankings and awards.

Social media audit

Customers and learners use social media to discuss the merits and disadvantages of a range of brands and institutions. For example, the Student Room, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all social channels through which university brands are discussed and reacted to. We conduct social media audits to investigate and analyse conversations taking place in the digital landscape that may have escaped the client’s notice.

Analysis of search

We use Google tools to compare a client’s web statistics with those of competitors or to investigate levels of interest in new course or topic areas over time.

Desk research
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