Research and evaluation
The work of the UCL Access and Widening Participation team is underpinned by evidence to ensure that activity, practice and policy are impactful and fit for purpose. We have staff dedicated to research, policy and evaluation, with several key aims in relation to these areas of our work:
- Evaluation and research based practice, to update and maintain appropriate activity and practice which demonstrates impact
- Carrying out research and evaluation to develop an institutionally specific evidence base
- Contributing to the national agenda by producing and funding original research
Our research team is responsible for developing and undertaking research relevant to objectives of the access and participation plan, addressing issues specific to UCL, while taking opportunities to contribute to the national agenda.
- Research into areas of specific importance to UCL, including an evaluation of the UCL bursary, informed by toolkits developed by the Office for Students.
- Sharing research findings within UCL, and contributing to a wider knowledge base. In addition to running two UCL research seminar series, we collaborate with The Brilliant Club on their seminar programme, which aims to bring together academics and practitioners with an interest in widening participation and educational equality.
- We work with external organisations, and other departments across UCL. Examples include:
- Research into the higher education experiences of care-experienced students with the Thomas Coram Research Unit
- The Teacher Action Research Project with the UCL London Centre for Leadership in Learning
- The Verbal Feedback Project with the UCL London Centre for Leadership in Learning and Teacher Toolkit
Evaluation of the UCL bursary
During the 2017/18 academic year, we conducted research into the impact of the UCL bursary, guided by toolkits from the Office for Students. This included statistical analysis of the outcomes of bursary-holders, a survey to all bursary-holders, and interviews with students who had received a bursary. A broader levelling effect in student experience was evident in the data. Emerging themes included that the bursary assisted with living costs, and that for some, it encouraged increased engagement in extra-curricular activities, societies and international experiences.