Primary Research

‘More Than Just Focus Groups and Surveys'

Do you want to find alternatives to the traditional research methods? Are your students suffering from survey fatigue?

We are experienced market researchers with a range of tools in our toolbox - including innovative techniques such as online qualitative and statistical analysis.

We contextualise our primary research with secondary data (such as HESA, UCAS, Rankings and Tuition Fee data) to give you the full picture.

Some examples of issues we can help with:

  • Student experience and outcomes - what are the causes of poor retention? How can we improve our NSS scores?
  • Marketing and recruitment - what are the less rational drivers of applicant choice? How can we better convert potential applicants?
  • Pricing and proposition - how appealing is our new course content? How should we position scholarships?

We can also help you access hard-to-reach audiences:

  • Prospective UG and PG applicants
  • Employers and industry
  • Current students from competitor HEIs

Overview of our solutions

Tried and trusted qual & quant solutions:

  • Surveys
  • Discussion groups
  • One-to-one interviews

Alternative qual approaches:

  • Online qualitative (diaries and live tasks; discussion forums and one-to-one web chats; stimulus mark up tools)
  • Observational research
  • Accompanied experiences, including accompanied surfs
  • 'Guerilla' interviewing
  • Online optimisation and UX/user experience research

Statistical analysis & expertise e.g.:

  • Conjoint analysis
  • Segmentation

Why The Knowledge Partnership?

 Below are some recent testimonials we've received from our clients.

TKP undertook a review of the communication that we have with our Year 12 and 13 students, their teachers and parents. We were impressed by their suggested approach of using an app to gather feedback from our students. This worked well not only because of the target age group but because they are geographically spread across the UK.

The report produced by Sarah and Beth was full of useful insights into student, parent and teacher views on our current communications and good, achievable recommendations for improvements. We found that Sarah as project lead understood RO and our complexities very quickly. This was evident not only in the report, but our conversations as the project progressed.

We are now working on implementing recommendations and feel confident they will impact positively on the Partnership’s work to widening access to research intensive universities.

Barbara Herring, Senior Project Manager at Realising Opportunities (RO) - a national partnership of 14 leading universities, working together on fair access and social mobility. 

Thank you again for the very thorough web research report. In addition to the invaluable information about how we can better position and promote this topic on our website, we can also see how some of the issues you have raised are having an impact on current users, which is an area we can now see needs to be focused on. Many thanks again for all your work on the report.

Michelle Gray, Insight Analyst at the University of Surrey

Please email or call +44 113 2430597 if you would like more information.

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What do you want to do?


Viability Reports

These reports provide market intelligence and benchmarking information at individual HE course level.


audits and consultancy

Reputational audits and communications consultancy support university vision, stakeholder communications, and reputation management.


and Business Engagement

We work with universities and sector bodies to develop business engagement and employability strategies which recognise the vital role they play in course development and student marketing.



Our experienced interim directors are available for senior marketing and communications roles.