Appearing in international rankings: How do academics from high-ranked universities comment?


2. Uluslararası Yükseköğretim Çalışmaları Konferansı, Antalya, Turkey, 12 - 14 October 2017

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Antalya
  • Country: Turkey
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


The purpose of this research is to detect the connotations associated with international rankings within the eyes of academics from high-ranked universities. The research was designed as a qualitative research in phenomenology pattern. The researcher firstly examined various international ranking systems and decided to take QS World University Rankings into consideration due to its larger variety in evaluation criteria. He developed semi-structured interview form and got ethical approval from The University of Sydney where was the centre of his research visit in Australia. He then carried out interviews with 16 senior academics who have worked in different disciplines from six high-ranked Australian universities. He analysed interview data using descriptive analysis technique. He generated a complete code-list on the data-set, and then another researcher coded each interview transcript in accordance with the code-list. After ensuring reliability with 0,86 inter-coder compatibility, he reported the results supporting with direct quotations. The results revealed that academics in the study group do not see the outcomes of international rankings enough to refer world-class or successful universities. However, they agreed that international rankings show universities’ research productivity and impacts. They argued that high-ranked universities obtain larger funds/grants from governmental institutions and contracts with business/industrial organizations due to their research reputation. They also asserted that these prestigious universities attract more and better students both nationally and internationally, and increase their financial power with larger teaching income as the main monetary stream for Australian universities. Consequently, universities’ positions in international rankings are not adequate alone to display the success level in many aspects, especially in terms of teaching quality. However, the ranking criteria provide a clear road-map for university managers who want to increase institutional income.