Understanding the National Student Survey: Investigations in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies

John Canning, Billy Clark, Rachel Cole, Jan Čulík, Michael Daller, Liz Flaconer, Marie Gastinel-Jones, John Grey, Christopher Heffer, Sam Hellmuth, James Minney, Clare O‘Donoghue, Ruth Payne-Woolridge, Adrian Sewell, Jeanette Sakel, Sylvia Shaw, Jeanine Treffers-Daller, Margaret Tejerizo, Simon Williams

Research output: Book/ReportProject report


1. This report summarises students and staff interpretations of the National Student Survey (NSS) from ten departments in nine institutions.

2. The NSS is valued by university senior management as a means of comparing their institution with others, as a tool for promoting the institution and identifying issues which
need to be addressed.

3. All eight of the 22 questions (or more accurately statements) investigated in this study are open to some degree of interpretation.

4. Many questions are ̳double-barrelled‘, i.e. they ask about more than one ̳issue‘ in a single question. In these cases students tend to focus in on one or other of the issues.

5. The staff focus groups and student interviews presented opportunities for discussion about key issues.

6. There are particular practical and methodological shortcomings in exploring the experiences of joint honours students. Their experience of different subjects can be vastly different and the survey has no means of addressing this.

7. Although problematic as a survey, the NSS is a useful starting point for staff-student dialogue, which has the potential to enhance the quality of the student learning experience.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSouthampton
PublisherSubject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011


  • National Student Survey (NSS)


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the National Student Survey: Investigations in Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this