EMWPREP NEWS – May 2018 // Issue 7





Team Update

Congratulations on surviving GDPR month!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have noticed that the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force last Friday. As well as flooding our inboxes with emails and giving rise to some really great memes and tweets, the GDPR is a regulation in EU law that has a big effect on the way EMWPREP and our team operates.

Recently, we provided our partners with the opportunity to comment on our new policy documents and we have a new, dedicated section of our website where these are all featured.

The aim of the documents is to assist partners in understanding their roles and responsibilities in respect of the collection and processing of personal data, as well as being aware of the increased emphasis on right of data subjects under GDPR.

Other GDPR-related news includes:

  • Our new data collection forms are now available for use and have been circulated to all partners
  • We have started our initial feedback scoping exercise in relation to our post-13 forms and will provide an update on progress in the next newsletter
  • We will continue to monitor any changes in the sector in respect of GDPR over the coming months and welcome any feedback from partners in relation to the forms and documents

Since the last newsletter Eliot has continued his ‘Excel on tour’ training sessions.

As is stands there are no further sessions planned, however if you have not had any training yet and would like some, then please get in contact.

Eliot is planning on developing new sessions to cover other areas of excel/ data analysis for partners, which potentially will be delivered in the new academic year.

One recipient of Eliot’s Excel Training – “Thank you so much, it was really useful and I think will save me time in the future”

This month Eliot attended a session with other NCOP data officers to discuss general progress on the NCOP project, as well as learn more about realist evaluation methodology. Realist methodology is a way of evaluating work undertaken in complex social situations, such as widening participation. It encourages researchers to identify ‘what works in which circumstances and for whom?’, rather than only evaluating ‘does it work?’

For further information on this method, please click here.


Staff Roles

Feedback from our recent newsletter survey suggested members would find it useful to understand more about the roles of the EMWPREP team.

Team biographies are available to view on our website and a more detailed look at the areas we oversee can be found by clicking here.




Superuser Training

Thanks to everyone who attended the April superuser training session, it was great to see so many new faces. Since the training day, we are pleased to announce that we now have superusers across all HEIs and NCOPs.

As a superuser your responsibilities here.

Currently, we do not plan to run more superuser training sessions, because we are investigating the suitability of online training. We will keep you posted with any new information.

In line with the new data collection forms, we will be launching the database new participant section of the database to run alongside these. The changes to the section will mirror the format of the forms for ease of inputting. We will continue to monitor and make modifications to the database as required.



NCOP End of Year Deadlines

The table here provides the key deadlines for consortia and report delivery dates for the 2018 in-year reporting period. Please note, if OfS need to move the submission date for any reason these dates are subject to change.

As part of the run up to the in-year reports, we will be producing database checks to help minimise errors in your numbers. These will be provided on June 19th, to allow enough time for errors/ potential errors to be investigated and amended before the reports are created. 


End of Year Report Deadlines

The end of year inputting deadline is Friday 10th August as the database will be closing at 17:00 the same day. All partners will receive their end of year reports on Friday 14th September. 

Earlier this month an email was sent out to partners, asking for confirmation of the structure and contents of their end of year reports. Please email Camellia your reporting requirements if you have not already done so.


Quarterly Database Checks

The quarterly database checks are checks that EMWPREP carry out throughout the year to highlight potential inputting errors on the database.

Recently, EMWPREP updated the quarterly database checks document to include a larger number of checks. Your institution will have received this new document on Wednesday 25th April.

We are currently developing a FAQ section in the quarterly database checks document. In the meantime, if you have any questions concerning the new checks then please email Camellia – C.Hayes@lboro.ac.uk



Neon Training Session Summary

Eliot attended the final two training sessions in the Neon Evaluating Outreach training session series.
The following paragraphs have been taken from his notes:
Third session

The third training session focussed on qualitative research, questionnaire design and sampling techniques.

Within qualitative research a researcher is trying to explain why and how an outcome is happening, this is via a focus on the process itself. The researcher will look to go into depth with a smaller number of participants in comparison to quantitative research. It uses ‘inductive analysis’, meaning that it is not testing a prior hypothesis but instead starts the research process with open ended questions. The findings of qualitative research have to take into account social, historical and spatial context, which can limit its generalisability.

Techniques of qualitative research include:

  • Participant observation
  • Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Learner diaries
  • Open ended questionnaires

We were given some key points to remember when designing a questionnaire to be used within WP research.

  • Look for logic and flow
  • Watch out for loaded words that have a history of being attached to extreme situations
  • Watch for prestige markers that cue the respondent to give the “right” answer
  • Assess and understand the respondent – try and ‘sit in their shoes’ when using closed questions the following points should be considered

When using closed questions the following points should be considered:

  • They can introduce bias, either by forcing the respondent to choose between given alternatives or by offering alternatives that otherwise would not have come to mind
  • They do not allow for creativity or for the respondent to develop ideas
  • They do not permit the respondent to qualify the chosen response or express a more complex or subtle meaning
  • They can introduce bias, where there is a tendency for the respondent to tick systematically either the first or last category, to select what may be considered as the most socially desirable response alternative, or to answer all items in a list in the same way
  • They require skill to write because response categories need to be appropriate, and mutually exclusive

When using open questions the following points should be considered:

  • They may be difficult to answer and even more difficult to analyse
  • They require effort and time on behalf of the respondent
  • They require the development of a system of coded categories with which to classify the responses
  • They can elicit little data
  • Open to large range of interpretation
  • They require the respondent to have some degree of writing ability
  • Respondent handwriting can be illegible

We were also introduced to 4 areas of sampling:

  1. Theoretical sample – What comparisons or groups are suggested by my theory?
  2. Purposive (judgmental) sample – Deliberately sample different positions, points of view
  3. Snowball sample – Ask each initial member to introduce you to someone else, this sampling method is particularly useful when working with hard to reach groups
  4. Quota sample – Predetermined number of people with certain characteristics


Fourth session

We explored the difference and relative benefits of random vs non-random sampling. Within these two areas we were introduced to several ways of implementing them. For random sampling we looked at simple, stratified, cluster and systematic techniques, whilst for non-random sampling we looked at snowball, quota and theoretical sampling.
We were introduced to three ethical approaches to research. A deontological approach stated that ethical codes are universal, and any action is either ethical or non ethical not matter what the context is. Ethical scepticism stated that ethical standard are not universal and actions have to be taken into the context of their culture and time. Utilitarianism states that decisions about the ethnics of a study are dependent on the balance between risk to participants and potential benefits of taking part.
The final part of the session focussed on report writing. We looked into various dissemination styles, such as journals, research briefs, policy papers/ reports, blogs and press releases. We considered how (for maximum impact) the report needs to be written for the intended audience rather than for ourselves. We finally looked into dissemination plans where the key questions are:
  • What are our goals for releasing this report?
  • Who is most affected by the results
  • Who would be most interested in finding out the results?
  • What is the most effective medium through which to reach the indented audience?
  • When should the evaluation be published?
  • Who is responsible for disseminating?



Our Links to the News

Caught up in cycles of deprivation, working-class girls often find themselves leaving school early and following a different career path than they originally planned. So why is it that so many working-class girls, despite aspiring to have exciting jobs and happy families, are faced with a reality far from their childhood dreams?

Professor Gillian Richards conducted an eight-year long study on the matter, interviewing 89 schoolgirls living in former mining communities and exploring what influences had affected their decision making as they moved into young adulthood.

One of her key findings was that many of the girls did not think their teachers could relate to their situation and therefore they did not want to share their career ambitions or personal issues with them. Professor Richards stated that “this needs to change”.

‘What it’s like growing up as a working-class girl in the UK’ 


External Training and Conferences

4th June (London) 
Next steps for transgender equality – inclusion, rights and services

5th June or 13th June (London or Manchester) 

OfS ILR and Unistats data returns seminar

12th June (London) 
Improving student retention

21st to 22nd June (Sussex) 
NEON Summer Symposium- “Widening Access- Who Cares?”

4th to 6th July (Worcester) 
FACE conference 2018: Transformative Impact

13th July (Peterborough) 

Measuring up: research, evidence and urgency in university access and student success