Questions that matter: using Q methodology to identify student priorities in module level experience

Elena Zaitseva*, Anna S. Law

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Student engagement with evaluation surveys has been declining, reducing the reliability and usability of the data for quality assurance and enhancement. One of the reasons for that, as reported by students, is the perceived low relevance of survey questions to their daily experiences and concerns. Uniform questions, provided by standardised survey instruments, rarely capture the needs of a diverse student population with wide-ranging educational experiences. This article draws on findings from a project that explored student priorities in the module level experience by involving them in the development of survey questions. Q methodology was utilised to identify groups of students with similar views and to explore key factors and patterns of thoughts about module experience. The project findings are indicative of three distinctive groups that reflect different stages of the student university journey, their level of maturity and cognitive engagement. The article reflects on the implications of the findings for quality assurance processes, teaching and student support.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuality in Higher Education
Early online date19 Sep 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • module evaluation
  • student voice
  • student surveys
  • student engagement
  • Q methodology


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