Project part A


The aim of the review is to identify factors and dimensions important for quality enhancement in higher education in general and with relevance for Norwegian higher education in particular. The main outcome will be a number of reports, starting with a report on the ongoing quality work at national and institutional levels, of direct relevance to core higher education actors, especially the Ministry of Education and Research. To achieve these goals, this part has three main themes:

  • Review of research literature with a multidisciplinary perspective.
  • Analysis of documents to provide an overview on current quality work in Norway.
  • Systematise and interpret data from completed/ongoing projects with relevance for quality work.


As extensive, yet underused data of relevance for quality issues are available from previous and ongoing projects, we will start by systematizing and (re-)interpreting these data in a comprehensive manner. The data sources include the Database for Higher Education (DBH), which includes register data for several starting cohorts in higher education. In addition, relevant sources include NOKUT’s student survey, SCB’s survey on students’ living conditions, quality reports and intra-institutional (student) evaluation reports. The relevant documents for analysis in this part include a range of public documents on quality in higher education at international, national and institutional level that will be analysed to create a report on quality work at national and institutional levels.

In addition to these sources, the project draws on ongoing projects. NIFU conducted a comprehensive survey among academic staff in 2013 including information about the involvement of students in R&D projects and how teachers give individual feedback to students. NIFU heads also “Higher Education Learning Outcomes (LOs): Transforming Higher Education?” which includes qualitative interviews with academic and administrative staff as well as documentary data. This data was collected in 2013 by a comparative case study approach investigating the nature of LOs as it appears in different study programs within the hard/soft, and pure/applied disciplines. These two projects will be used to complement the mapping and provide a basis for the following empirical analysis in part B and C.

Part A team

Sub project A is led by Professor Bjørn Stensaker (UiO) and Dr. Eisabeth Hovdhaugen (NIFU).


  • Damşa, Crina; de Lange, Thomas; Elken, Mari; Esterhazy, Rachelle; Fossland, Trine; Frølich, Nicoline; Hovdhaugen, Elisabeth; Maassen, Peter; Nerland, Monika B.; Nordkvelle, Yngve T; Stensaker, Bjørn; Tømte, Cathrine; Vabø, Agnete; Wiers-Jenssen, Jannecke; Aamodt, Per Olaf (2015) “Quality in Norwegian Higher Education: A review of research on aspects affecting student learning” Available for download at NIFU homepage.
  • Hovdhaugen, Elisabeth; Aamodt, Per Olaf, Reymert, Ingvild & Stensaker, Bjørn (2016) Indikatorer på kvalitet i høyere utdanning. NIFU arbeidsnotat 2016:3. Available for download here. 
  • Aamodt, Per Olaf (2016) Undervisningsvilkår ved universitetene: En analyse av data fra CAP-undersøkelsen. NIFU arbeidsnotat 2016: 15. Available for download here.