Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The Structure of Surveys and the Peril of Panels

Simpson, A.

The Structure of Surveys and the Peril of Panels Thumbnail



University league tables give the image that there is a single dimension along which institutions can be placed. Most derive rankings from an aggregate score of multiple items, which often include opinion responses which has the potential to introduce sampling bias. This paper explores what happens when the two issues of dimensionality and sampling bias interact in league tables. It uses the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey – which uses a panel design – to explore these issues. It notes that they combine to produce a distorted image of the relative quality of the student experience in different institutions. We conclude that ignoring dimensionality and the systematically unrepresentative nature of the sample could lead policy makers to draw inappropriate conclusions.


Simpson, A. (2018). The Structure of Surveys and the Peril of Panels. Studies in Higher Education, 43(8), 1334-1347.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 11, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 16, 2016
Publication Date Aug 3, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 11, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 16, 2018
Journal Studies in Higher Education
Print ISSN 0307-5079
Electronic ISSN 1470-174X
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 8
Pages 1334-1347


You might also like

Downloadable Citations