Case studies

Higher Education

A large HE publisher acquisition at the end of 2019 necessitated some due diligence research with lecturers and students to investigate whether the technology of the acquiring company would suit the needs of the users of the acquirees resources. We ran three face-to-face focus groups of lecturers and students, all drawn from our panel, with clients observing from behind glass and with live video feeds to the USA. Clients could unobtrusively ask, via the moderator, additional questions during the sessions, which were all recorded and transcribed for later use. This exercise highlighted some large cultural differences between resource use in the UK and in the USA, and the subsequent report gave strong recommendations to the client on the likely market, post-acquisition.


A Russell Group university was investigating the potential for a new masters qualification in education and wanted to test the market in the UK and in international schools. They commissioned Schoolzone to conduct research using our panels via a series of telephone interviews and online focus groups with follow-up tasks looking at the proposed masters in more detail. The four groups were influencers and decision-makers in the UK, teachers/lecturers in the UK, decision-makers in international schools, potential students in international schools. 15 countries were targeted. A full report gave firm recommendations on the structure and content of the masters and on potential markets in each region.


A Midlands-based university wanted to explore reasons for poor uptake of one its digital services and asked Schoolzone to investigate. We recruited a sample of users and non-users to tell us via an asynchronous online discussion about the associated benefits and barriers and how the service might be improved so that it was a better fit to their needs. We followed this up with a series of telephone interviews to explore some of the issues and suggestions in more detail and were able to make a series of concrete suggestions, based on firm evidence, of how the university might develop the service.


A London-based university wanted to develop its offerings in the creative sector so Schoolzone devised and delivered a multi-phase, mixed-methodology approach involving desk research in related policy areas, 25 subject leader telephone interviews, an asynchronous forum of 75 department members and a survey of over 200 students from 11 targeted institutions. Separate reports for each phase and a final report with detailed recommendations were presented to the client.


One the world’s oldest universities has an education service based in its botanical gardens. They asked Schoolzone to evaluate the service by consulting with users and associate members who, between them, comprised a wide range of profiles, including trainee teachers, lecturers, students and teachers within a range of faculties and institutions. We used a quantitative survey, an asynchronous forum and focus groups to investigate. Our final report pointed out strengths and weaknesses and gave recommendations about how the service could be improved and marketed more effectively.