An exploration of factors influencing undergraduate student engagement

Concerns about student engagement on an undergraduate course at a UK university, led the teaching team to seek some funding from the University’s Teaching Fellowship scheme to conduct a small research project to try to understand factors that might be having a positive or negative impact on engagement. 

In an effort to gain more authentic voices and overcome any perceived power imbalances between researchers and respondents and to help develop research skills, three members of the teaching team enlisted a student from each of levels 4, 5 & 6 to create a co-researching team of six.  

The research took the form of an explorative case study and involved a short questionnaire that was sent out to the entire course cohort on three occasions across the academic year to see if there appeared any variance in engagement as the year progressed. These were followed up by interviews designed to delve more deeply into some of the themes that emerged. 

Both sets of data were analysed and cross checked collaboratively across the research team, leading to findings that provide insight on the factors that influence student engagement and those that as a team and University we can seek to address.