18-T9 ICO-Masterclass Research into Higher Education

Educational research within the area of higher education knows diverse themes and issues and many of them overlap with other areas of educational research (Tight, 2003). The issues in the field of research into higher education are related to topics such as learning environments, retention and dropout of students, professional development of teachers, curriculum development, organisational context, assessment, quality assurance and evaluation. Apart from these more generic topics of educational research we can identify issues specifically related to higher education research, such as study success, the teaching-research nexus, supervision of student research, and the Bologna reform. Different types of research methods are applied and both quantitative and qualitative data collecting methods are used. The purpose of this ICO-Masterclass is to provide a broad overview of the current state of research into higher education, in Flanders and the Netherlands as well as internationally.

Certificate track


The course objectives of the certificate track are that you:

  • have basic knowledge of theories, models and research designs used by researchers within the domain of research into higher education;
  • are aware that research into higher education covers a wide area of themes and topics;
  • have insight in the types of research questions and theories that play a dominant role when investigating topics in higher education;
  • have insight in research methodologies used within diverse types of higher education research;
  • are acquainted with the work of researchers within the area of higher education;
  • can engage in debates about strengths and weaknesses of theories and methodologies often used in higher education research;
  • can translate research questions, methodologies and findings of research into higher education to the context of your own (PhD) research project;
  • are able to describe connections between the topic(s) of your own (PhD) research project and ways in which research is related to practice on the level of teaching, programmes, institutes or policy in higher education.

Face-to-face meetings


Three face-to-face meetings are organised in which you share and discuss topics in research into higher education with other certificate track participants. The meetings are guided by the coordinators and/or guest lecturers.

The first meeting helps you to situate your own research project in the broad research field of higher education. During this meeting the outline of the master class and related expectations will be explained as well. Furthermore, dr. Didi Griffioen (HvA, chair of VOR SIG-HO) will give a guest lecture on the role of higher education research in higher education change processes. The lecture helps you to actively explore ways in which outcomes and/or processes related to your research project could inform educational practices in higher education institutes.

In the second and third meeting there will also be a guest lecture.

During the third meeting we ask two former, recently graduated PhD to present their work. The speakers will be announced in due time. During the third meeting we compose the manuscript, by selecting the paragraphs to incorporate in the paper.



During the course of the Masterclass students collaborate in writing a paper which describes current trends in research in higher education and ways in which this research can inform future developments in higher education. To describe research trends different concepts studied in the context of higher education are used. The paper targets an audience of higher education researchers and professionals. The coordinators guide the writing process.


The assignment stimulates you to reflect on the content as discussed during the meeting and to relate it to your own research project as well as other projects. Also, in preparation for the meetings you will be asked to do some preparatory work (reading an article, preparing a presentation).

For the first meeting we ask you to present a 2-minute pitch on your research and to read three articles (see below). For the second and third meetings we ask you in pairs to write a paragraph on relation(s) between the topic of the guest lectures and your topic.


Assessment criteria

  •  Attendance of the three face-to-face meetings
  • Contribution to the end product, the paper, completed at a sufficient level divided in three partial assignments



In order for you to situate your research within the broad field of higher education, we ask you to prepare for the first meeting by reading the papers by Tight (2013) and Kandlbinder (2013).


  • Kandlbinder, P. (2013). Signature concepts of key researchers in higher  education teaching  and learning. Teaching in Higher Education,18(1),1-12.
  • Tight, M. (2013). Discipline and methodology in higher education research. Higher Education Research and Development, 32(1), 136-151.

In order to get familiar with a framework to describe levels within higher education at which research and teaching can be connected, we ask you to prepare for the first meeting by reading the paper by Healey & Jenkins (2018).

  • Anakin, M., Spronken-Smith, R., Healey, M., & Vajoczki, S. (2017). The Contextual Nature of University-Wide Curriulum Change. International Journal for Academic Development. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10/1080/1360144X.2017.1385464


During the first meeting we explore if this framework is helpful to structure the paper.

The literature for the other meetings will be related to the specific topics of the invited speakers. Literature will be distributed timely before the start of the session (at least 2 weeks in advance).


Study load


The study load for following the certificate track is rated at 60 hours, distributed as follows:


  • Three face-to-face meetings (3 x 4 hours = 12 hours)
  • Assignments (3 x 16 hours = 48 hours)


Calendar and deadlines


Deadline registration certificate track 15 September 2018
Face-to-face meeting 1 11 December 2018
Deadline assignment 1: Submit pitch 15 November 2018
Face-to-face meeting 2 5 February 2019
Deadline assignment 2 15 January 2019
Face-to-face meeting 3 9 April 2019
Deadline assignment 3 15 May 2019



Free for ICO members. For all others € 1000.


  • Dr. Mayke Vereijken
    University Leiden
  • Renske de Kleijn
    Utrecht University


Deadline for registration for the certificate track is September 15, 2018. You have to complete the registration form on the ICO website. Participants who want to register for the certificate track after the deadline is due, are recommended to contact the coordinators.


  • Dr. Mayke Vereijken (m.w.c.vereijken@iclon.leidenuniv.nl)
    Leiden University
  • Dr. Renske de Kleijn (r.a.m.deKleijn-3@umcutrecht.nl)
    Utrecht University