Key Findings

The Paired Peers project, whilst still continuing to collect data, has shed light on some interesting issues. We have presented emerging findings at various conferences and are in the process of writing up many of these. We have also presented our findings year by year at our annual dissemination events.This page  highlights some key findings of the project, findings which we hope can be of use and are of particular importance to policy makers. For more detailed findings please see our other relevant pages: 'publications and conference papers' and ' dissemination events'. You can also find a copy of our final project report to download on the page: 'Report'.

Key Findings

  • Students appreciate the value of a university degree, indeed many of them seeing it as an absolute necessity for career success.
  • They, often reluctantly, state they would be prepared to pay whatever was asked to get a degree
  • However, many question whether the current delivery of the degree represents value for money; common complaints are: lack of close contact with tutors and lecturers, boring lectures with lecturers simply reading from notes or summarising textbooks, inappropriate timetabling,  no contact with leading researchers, coursework not being marked.
  • When asked what universities should be spending scarce resources on there was a strong preference for more staff and better library resources, while there was a much lower rating for improved teaching accommodation and student union/leisure facilities. As one student put it, 'we are here to get a degree not to have fun'.

When asked which forms of investment universities should prioritise, students gave the following responses:

  • 38% teaching staff
  • 38% books and library
  • 8% improved teaching accommodation
  • 4% improved student union and leisure facilities
  • Most students found the switch to university teaching and learning styles hard, especially the switch from what many described as 'spoon-feeding' at school to independent learning.
  • Large impersonal first-year classes exacerbated the problem
  • Students from disadvantaged backgrounds struggle to pay living expenses, leading many to take up term-time work which effects their performance; others choose to live at home and miss out on student social life.
  • Competition for internships and vac schemes is fierce and depends a lot on 'who you know'
  • Students from privileged backgrounds are better placed to make strategic choices to further their careers.
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