There is no universally agreed on definition of institutional research (IR), although Joe Saupe describes it as research undertaken within a higher education (HE) institution to provide information that supports institutional planning, policy formation, and decision-making. It performs a crucial role in helping HE institutions improve overall effectiveness related to core missions of teaching, research, and service to key stakeholders in their broader communities (such as governments, employers, and societal organisations). Different institutions and national HE systems approach IR in ways responsive to particular operating contexts. This diversity is reflected in myriad IR structures and activities, IR practitioners employed in a wide range of roles, and multiple conceptualisations and understandings of the nature of IR.

Nevertheless, most IR activity contains some core elements. First, it consists ...

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