Little Fish in a Big Pond: Towards Research Performance Metrics for Smaller InstitutionsReport as inadecuate




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Journal of Institutional Research, v18 n1 p36-46 Aug 2013

Each year, institutions eagerly await reports from "Shanghai Jiao Tong University," "Times Higher," "QS," and other organisations that create and publish international rankings of university performance. The metrics included in league tables and rankings--research income, research staff, number of doctoral candidates, numbers of publications--are common to other measures of research performance. Invariably, these "four pillars" of research performance measurement are used as proxy measures of quality, but they are in fact quantity measures, reflecting that size does matter. For smaller and regional institutions that are not listed in the Top 100, or not even players in the Top 500, it is difficult to demonstrate and measure quality when quantity is such a factor. This article examines the history of the research performance measurement within Australian higher education, and questions the current validity and focus of these metrics. It further explores the context of these metrics, and considers the requirements for "little fish" in the higher education "pond" to demonstrate excellence in research. [This article was first presented at the Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Institutional Research, "Evolution of IR practice and use of IR," Terrigal, New South Wales, November 12-14, 2013.]

Descriptors: Small Colleges, Performance, Research, Measurement, Validity, Foreign Countries

Australasian Association for Institutional Research. 546 Gallymont Road, Mandurama, NSW 2792, Australia. +61-2-6367-5347; e-mail: secretary[at]aair.org.au; Web site: http://www.aair.org.au





Author: Kitt, Sharon; Wearne, Jonathan

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=2344&id=EJ1094097



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