13-11 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 arrangements, Retention and dropout of students, professional development of teachers, domain-specific issues, curriculum development, organisational context, assessment, quality assurance and evaluation. Apart from these more generic topics of educational research we can identify specific issues related to higher education research, such as the study success, teaching-research nexus, supervision of student research, and Bologna reform. Different types of research methods are applied and both quantitative and qualitative data collecting methods are used. The purpose of this master class is to providing an overview of the current state of research into higher education in Flanders and the Netherlands.

In this master class PhD candidates will acquire knowledge about topics and methodologies in research into higher education on four general themes, namely ‘Faculty & teaching’, ‘Students & learning’, ‘Organization & policy’, and ‘Quality & evaluation’.

Course Objectives

The course objectives of this master class are that the participants:

  • have acquired basic knowledge of theories, models and research designs that are used by ICO- and other researchers within the domain of research into higher education;
  • become aware that research into higher education covers a wide area of themes and topics;
  • acquire insight in the types of research questions and theories that play a dominant role when investigating topics in higher education;
  • acquire insight in research methodologies used within diverse types of higher education research;
  • become acquainted with the work of researchers and staff members within this area;
  • can engage in debate about strengths and weaknesses of typical theories and methodologies used in higher education research;
  • learn to translate research questions, methodologies and findings of research into higher education to the context of their own research project.


  • Dr. Roeland van der Rijst (Coordinator)
    Leiden University
    ICLON –Dept. of Higher Education
    PO Box 905
    The Netherlands
    071 527 64 96
  • Prof. dr. Jos Beishuizen
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    Dept. of Theory and Research in Education
    Faculty of Psychology and Education
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam


The programme includes workshops about research on the four themes in higher education research. These workshops will be organized by senior members of ICO or any other (inter)national well established academics on that particular theme in the field of higher education research. Each meeting will be concluded with an assignment to relate the issues from the workshop to participants own research projects.

The activities are as follows:

  • Contact-based activities; i.e. workshops and discussions (28 hours)
  • Self-study activities; i.e. reading the literature (42 hours)
  • Self-study activities; i.e. work on two assignments (30 hours)
  • In total about 100 hours.

The first assignment is aimed at preparing the participant for the master class. Participants are requested to prepare this assignment before the start of the course. The second assignment is aimed at reflecting on what has been learned during the master class in relation to the participants own research. Participants are requested to prepare this assignment before the second contact-based part of the master class, because they need to report their findings during the final day of the master class.

Preliminary Programme

Day 1 

11.00 – 13.30

Gifted and talented students in HE

Prof. dr. Albert Pilot

Day 1

14.00 – 16.30


Dr. Judith Schoonenboom


Day 2

10.00 – 12.30

Medical education: How to measure the scientific ability of students

Prof. dr. Friedo Dekkers

Day 2

13.00 – 15.30

Assessment of teachers in HE

Dr. Dineke Tigelaar

Day 3

10.00 – 12.30

Organisation of HEI

Dr. Christine Teelken

Day 3

13.00 – 15.30

Governance in HE

Prof. dr. Jurgen Enders

Day 4

10.00 – 12.30

Student learning

Prof. dr. Jos Beishuizen

Day 4

13.00 – 15.30

Teacher professional development in HE

Dr. Ann Stes


1) As a preparation for the master class participants will be asked to describe in a short essay (approx. 500 words) about an actual problem, issue or question about research into higher education preferably related to their own PhD projects. During the master class all issues will be discussed with the course coordinators and peers.

2) Participants are requested to write a research proposal (approx. 2,000 words) on an issue within one of the four themes discussed during the master class. The topic of this proposal is preferably related to their own PhD project. The instructors will provide you with a research question if necessary. During the last two meetings participants time is reserved to present the proposals. Participants who submit their proposal to the instructors before Friday February 8, will receive feedback. After the final meeting students have two weeks to revise their paper. Assessment criteria for this paper will be discussed during the first meeting.


All meetings take place at ICLON Leiden University in the Willem Einthoven building.
The meetings are scheduled between 10.00 and 17.00 during 5 days. During each workshop day a particular theme will be studied and discussed. Participants are asked to read the literature about these themes in advance (this will be explained in the course manual).

Meetings will take place on:

  • June 2013, The exact dates will be published as soon as possible 

The maximum number of participants for the course is 16 students.
 Registration deadline: May 1, 2013


  • Being present and active participation during the contact-based part of the course.
  • Both assignments should be completed at a sufficient level.


A list of papers to be read will be specified later on.


Free for ICO PhD-candidates. For all others € 1000.


Deadline for registration is May 1st, 2013. PhD students may register for the course by completing the registration form. A maximum of 16 participants will be admitted to the master class. Students who want to register for the course after the deadline is due, are recommended to contact one of the course coordinators.