The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy

Carter Walter Bloch

Does quality work work? A systematic review of academic literature on quality initiatives in higher education

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Quality in higher education is–and has been for many years - at the top of the political agenda. The concept of quality has been explored extensively in the literature as has the means to measure and monitor quality. Connected to these two literatures is a widespread and somewhat fragmented literature on what might initially be termed quality work. This article reviews this literature on quality work in higher education. We characterise the work in this field, its main themes, issues and questions, and discuss what this literature has to say on the effects of quality work. Based on a systematic search for the period 2008-2018, we review 68 publications. The review shows that the literature on quality work can be categorised into three major areas: the role of institutional conditions for quality work, types of quality work practices, and notions of quality and quality outcomes. The review demonstrates that there is a need for more inclusive methodologies and longitudinal studies, particularly more rigorous quantitative analysis of the effects of quality work to supplement other methods.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Volume46
Issue5
Pages (from-to)701-718
Number of pages18
ISSN0260-2938
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

    Research areas

  • Quality work, educational quality, higher education, quality improvement

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