The need for institutional research

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This paper discusses the need to carry out research on the academic and research activities of universities and to better manage and plan these activities. North America led the way in institutional research by creating the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) in 1960, and by establishing separate functions within the administration of higher education institutions. Those activities range from projecting enrolment and space to financial analysis and strategic and academic planning. Western Europe followed suit in the 1970s. The continuing pressure of budget cuts and an increasingly market-oriented approach are forcing universities to manage their affairs better. If universities in the highly technological and prosperous countries are forced to plan their affairs better, so should universities in developing areas, since unstable and uncertain economic situations may drastically reduce government funding (as has happened in Israel since 1984). Better management and planning in higher education requires more information and research about university inputs and outputs and the relationship between them. Furthermore, research requires time and resources, and if universities wait for crises to happen, they will be caught in a vicious circle where there is no budget left to plan the budget cut better. As can be learned from the American experience, such research requires cooperation among institutions and the use of unified data definitions. Research about higher education administration is needed on all levels: departmental, institutional, national and international. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)57-60
Number of pages4
JournalHigher Education Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991


  • Effizienz
  • Hochschule
  • Hochschulentwicklung
  • Hochschulfinanzierung


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