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Response rates

These are our responses and clarifications to issues raised in our consultation about achieving high response rates.

We are aware of the challenges in achieving a 70% response rate.

We will work with the survey contractor to develop a robust communications plan to support the achievement of high response rates. This plan will include a range of central activities as well as the provision of resources to support local communications activity.

We will also maximise response rates through:

  • Utilising best practice in survey design
  • Utilising technological advances
  • Personalisation of the survey and contact methods to each provider
  • Maximising the use of linked data to avoid asking questions which are seen as intrusive (such as salary) and to ensure the survey is kept brief.

Australia achieves 39% response rates solely through online questions. HESA currently (for 2014/15 data) achieves 61% of responses via calling. 70% would allow for a 30% dip in response rates via telephone due to the change in survey timing, if we were to match Australia’s online rate at 12 months. We think this is achievable, due to predicted boosts in online responses brought about by advances in survey technology.

Having investigated response rates, we believe 70% is achievable. This will be kept under review through the first, and subsequent, collections by the steering group. 70% is for UK domiciled undergraduates who studied full time. Target response rates will vary for other groups such as international graduates.

It is vital we achieve high response rates across providers and we will be taking steps to ensure we reach these. This is to allow the data to be analysed in the ways the sector requires. We will evaluate exact specifications after the first year, but we have no reason to believe the 15 month survey point prevents high response rates.

Providers are required to maintain high quality contact details, in order to ensure the likelihood of high responses. A specification will be published for these contact details. The steering group will set out exactly where the responsibilities lie, but the majority of responsibility will sit with the survey contractor.

LEO data is available for all graduates, regardless of whether survey data has been returned. Where we only have salary data, this isn't counted towards the 70% response rate. 

Linked data is available for all graduates, regardless of whether they have submitted a response to the survey. The availability of linked data will not determine the response rate, as the response rate is for survey data. We are still determining the exact formats for our published outputs

These will be applicable at a limited level. Details will be specified through the implementation phase.

Yes, institutional responses are permitted as long as these can be evidenced. We will only allow such responses to limited levels.

The response rate will be a minimum of 70%, rather than this being a cut off point. Providers shouldn't be disadvantaged by higher response rates, as we will ensure fair spread across courses/personal characteristics.