The Handbook for Economics Lecturers

5 Case studies - some examples of questionnaires in higher education

In this section, I have reproduced all or significant parts of three questionnaires. They are all currently in use in academic departments in the UK. Questionnaire 1 is a complete questionnaire and is comprised entirely of three open questions. This is an interesting approach but very atypical and it clearly does restrict the type of information that will be gleaned from the responses. I note that students are asked not to detail the worst features of the module but to suggest possible improvements – this is an attractive feature, as it tends to encourage a constructive approach to questionnaire responses.

Questionnaires 2 and 3 contained open questions but I have omitted these, choosing to focus on the structure and design of closed questions. Questionnaire 2 is unusual in the degree to which it explores the skills and abilities of the lecturer. Clearly, this is relevant information and can potentially direct teachers to areas of their teaching that they might work on. One reason I like questions of this sort is that students will want to talk about the individual characteristics of lecturers anyway, usually in responses to open questions. This approach imposes some structure to their responses. Note that the questionnaire, like most, asks some questions that will be inappropriate in many lecture situations. For example, lectures are not necessarily a good environment for ‘encouraging student participation’.

The strength of questionnaire 3 is its structure. As discussed above, clear grouping of questions under themes is helpful in the design of the questionnaire and helpful to the respondent. In addition, the questionnaire probes areas that most questionnaires do not. In particular, it asks for a certain amount of information on the students’ status and background, which is useful when it comes to interpreting the responses. Another important characteristic of the questionnaire are the questions on the perceived contribution of the module to students’ skills. This is an unusual approach but highly commendable, as it gets to the heart of what teaching is all about – facilitating skill acquisition in students.

Questionnaire 1
Lecture questionnaire

All members of the teaching and support staff in the School of Economics are committed to the provision of teaching of the highest quality and strive to ensure that this is a comprehensive, meaningful and systematic policy.

In an attempt to implement and deliver a teaching programme of the highest quality and to maintain consistency in this policy, measures exist to record how well this aim is being met. One of these measures is the direct questioning of students about the modules they have taken. This serves to give immediate, qualitative feedback to the tutor concerning his/her module content, teaching performance and administration. These results are used to alter, where the tutor deems appropriate, the module before it is delivered in the following year. Thus, this system gives students a direct input into teaching design, delivery and administration.

Please take time in writing your responses; your input is an essential part of the School’s monitoring process and thus an integral part of the policy of maintaining and extending teaching quality.

Module Title………………………………………………………………………….

Lecturer …………………………………. Semester ………………………………..

What were the best features of the module?

 
 
 
 
 

Where could improvements be made in the module?

 
 
 
 
 

Are they any other comments you wish to make?

 
 
 
 
 

Questionnaire 2
Lecture questionnaire

The purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain your views and opinions about the lectures you have been given during the course to help the lecturer evaluate his/her teaching.

Please ring the response that you think is most appropriate to each statement. If you wish to make any comments in addition to these ratings please do so on the back page.

The Lecturer: Strongly Agree Agree No Strong Feelings Disagree Strongly Disagree
1. Encourages students to participate in classes. 5 4 3 2 1
2. Allows opportunities for asking questions. 5 4 3 2 1
3. Has an effective lecture delivery. 5 4 3 2 1
4. Has good rapport with learners. 5 4 3 2 1
5. Is approachable and friendly. 5 4 3 2 1
6. Is respectful towards students. 5 4 3 2 1
7. Is able to teach at the students’ level. 5 4 3 2 1
8. Enables easy note-taking. 5 4 3 2 1
9. Provides useful handouts of notes. 5 4 3 2 1
10. Would help students by providing printed notes. 5 4 3 2 1
11. Has a wide subject knowledge. 5 4 3 2 1
12. Maintains student interest during lectures. 5 4 3 2 1
13. Gives varied and lively lectures. 5 4 3 2 1
14. Is clear and comprehensible in lectures. 5 4 3 2 1
15. Gives lectures which are too fast to take in. 5 4 3 2 1
16. Gives audible lectures. 5 4 3 2 1
17. Gives structured and organised lectures. 5 4 3 2 1
18. Is enthusiastic about the subject. 5 4 3 2 1

Questionnaire 3
Student module evaluation

Your responses to this form are completely anonymous. Data will not be available to instructors until after module grades are recorded.

Instructor’s full name: …………………………………………..

Module’s full name: …………………………………………….

Semester (term, year): …………………………………………..

Fill in one response for each question below.

Excellent (High) = 5, Very Good = 4, Satisfactory = 3, Fair = 2, Poor (Low) = 1

LEVEL OF EFFORT     

1. Level of effort you put into the module. 1 2 3 4 5

SKILL OF THE INSTRUCTOR     

2. Instructor’s effectiveness as a lecturer and/or discussion leader 1 2 3 4 5
3. Clarity of instructor’s presentations 1 2 3 4 5
4. Organisation of instructor’s presentations 1 2 3 4 5
5. Instructor’s ability to stimulate interest in the subject 1 2 3 4 5
6. Instructor’s ability to deal with controversial issues judiciously (such as: ethnicity, race, gender) 1 2 3 4 5

RESPONSIVENESS OF THE INSTRUCTOR     

7. Instructor’s availability and helpfulness to students 1 2 3 4 5
8. Instructor’s respect for student ideas 1 2 3 4 5
9. Usefulness of instructor’s oral and/or written feedback 1 2 3 4 5

WORKLOAD AND STRUCTURE OF THE MODULE     

10. Difficulty of material (1 = much too easy, 5 = much too difficult) 1 2 3 4 5
11. Quantity of work required (1 = much too little, 5 = much too much) 1 2 3 4 5
12. Clarity of module’s objectives 1 2 3 4 5

CONTRIBUTION TO LEARNING     

13. Value of assigned materials 1 2 3 4 5
14. Value of book lists and references 1 2 3 4 5
15. Contribution of this module to improving your general analytic skills 1 2 3 4 5
16. Contribution of this module to broadening your perspective 1 2 3 4 5
17. Contribution of this module toward your knowledge of individual areas of study 1 2 3 4 5
18. Contribution of this module to the degree programme 1 2 3 4 5

OVERALL QUALITY OF THE MODULE     

19. Overall quality of module 1 2 3 4 5

STUDENT STATUS     

20. Year (1 = First Year, 2 = Second Year, 3 = Third Year, 4 = Postgrad., 5 = Part-time 1 2 3 4 5
21. Programme (1 = Economics, 2 = Joint, 3 = Another Dept., 4 = Exch., 5 = Postgrad. or Part-time) 1 2 3 4 5

MISCELLANEOUS     

22. What grade do you expect to receive in this module? (1 = Fail, 2 = 3rd, 3 = 2:2, 4 = 2:1, 5 = 1st.) 1 2 3 4 5
23. Why did you choose this module? (1 = Interest (elective), 2 = Elective, 3 = Dept. requirement, 4 = University requirement, 5 = Other 1 2 3 4 5
24. Would you recommend this module to others? (1 = Yes, 2 = No) 1 2