What is HEER and why should I use it?
Who is HEER for?
What features does HEER provide?
What sources of research are covered?
How do I find specific research summaries in HEER?
How should I cite a HEER summary?
I can't access the full PDF summaries. Why?
Why do some entries have PDF attachments and others do not?
The Higher Education Empirical Research (HEER) database is an archive of summaries of published research on a range of topics related to higher education, stretching back over 10 years.
Anyone with an interest in higher education can use HEER. A survey carried out in 2011 showed that our visitors include policy-makers, academics, researchers, managers and students.
Summaries are based on research available in policy related reports and papers published in higher education journals. Research has been selected for inclusion in the database on the basis of its relevance to policy and practice, as well as the robustness and reliability of the findings and approach.
The database is not intended to provide a comprehensive listing of all research published on a particular topic; it focuses on research that has a strong application to policy or practice.
You can browse HEER by publisher to see the list of sources referenced in the database.
Links are provided to the original sources, but where these are journal articles a paid subscription is needed to provide access.
HEER is designed to provide users with access to higher education research with implications for policy and practice, in a readily accessible summary format.
Each summary identifies the main aim of the original research, provides an overview of key findings and describes the approach taken.
The database is fully searchable by theme, publisher, author and publication date so that users can target their search towards their own particular interests and needs.
There are various ways to search the database. You can browse our summaries by year of publication, theme and sub-theme, and publisher. If you have something specific in mind, you can use our advanced summary search to narrow down
When citing a HEER summary, please follow the pattern as shown in the following example:
HEER000389 (2013) Summary of equality in higher education: statistical report 2013 Part 1, in Higher Education Empirical Research (HEER) database, Gloucester: Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
The unique HEER summary number should come first, followed by the date it
was published on the database. After this the title of the publication should be
given, prefaced by ‘summary of’. This should be followed by the database details and origins.
You need to register for a free HEER account in order to have full access to our summary PDFs.
Further information about registration
Until July 2014 every addition to the database included a summary in PDF format. However, responding to user feedback, from August 2014 we published an informative abstract for each report or research paper, enabling information to be made available even quicker than before.