University Graduates’ Tracer Study /Trainingskurs für internationale Hochschulmanager (abgeschlossen 2013)


German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

in brief

In many countries, a new demand is emerging: higher education institutions should provide empirical evidence regarding the professional relevance of their study programs. In some countries higher education institutions are formally required to conduct graduate tracer studies in order to get the accreditation of their study programs. Besides the aspect of accountability, higher education institutions are becoming more and more interested to get a systematic feedback from their graduates. Broadly speaking the improvement of the study programs, and more specifically the revision of curricula are the core objectives of the graduate tracer studies.

Very often, such studies are done on a low level of professional expertise, resulting in low response rates, much too simple data analysis and wrong interpretations of the findings. The DIES Training Course “UNIVERSITY GRADUATES’ TRACER STUDY COURSE (UNITRACE)” offered by the International Centre for Higher Education Research at the University of Kassel (INCHER-Kassel) in Germany is targeted to people from higher education institutions who will be responsible for realizing graduate tracer studies. Participants are enabled to conduct professional tracer studies. Furthermore, participants are trained in the freeware software QTAFI, a key tool developed by INCHER-Kassel to prepare questionnaires, online-surveys, tables and figures for professional tracer surveys.

The participants are trained by experienced researchers in the major steps of the studies: questionnaire development based on relevant theories and specific research questions, research methodology, organization of the field work, methods to achieve a high response rate, data entry and data editing, coding, data analysis, interpretation of findings and reporting. Participants are accompanied and supported throughout the whole process of a tracer study.

The training consists mainly of three consecutive workshops comprising the following components:

Workshop 1

Survey preparation (e.g. relevant theories, design of the survey, identification of mailing addresses of the graduates, organization of the field work, methods to achieve a high response rate)

Location: Kassel University, Germany.

Time: October 11th – October 22nd, 2010.

Workshop 2

Data analysis (e.g. data entry and editing, coding, data analysis)

Location: Kassel University, Germany.

Workshop 3

Interpretation of findings and dissemination (e.g. the role of comparisons, presentation of findings, different kind of reports, tables and figures)

Location: Bali, Indonesia

The training programme provides opportunities for the exchange of valuable experiences and views among the participants.

Participants: UNITRACE is directed at expert staff of universities and intermediary bodies of the Higher Education sector (e.g. University associations, Higher Education Commissions) holding a university degree.


  • Tamara Arutyunyants
  • Dr. Choni Flöther
  • Constanze Engel
  • René Kooij
  • Harald Schomburg


  • 2007 - 2013