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Concrete Wall

Skills research

Charting perceptions of humanities students' skills

Define the relevant skills statements

For research on skills of humanities students

  • Inspect the 6 skills clusters and 78 corresponding skills items used in the ASSET-H research. Consider whether you want to revise, add or delete items to better fit the students in your institution.

  • Include distractor items, not related to Humanities students.

  • See resource "Skills Descriptions" for a full list of skills item used.

For research on skills of non-humanities students

  • Conduct a three-part pilot study to determine the relevant skills

    • open question to a sample of students: "Write down what skills you have acquired during and through your education.",

    • cluster answers to open question using Word Space Models,

    • describe conceptual clusters using concrete skills items.

  • See De Dijn et al. (2019) & Heyvaert et al. (2017) for more details.


The survey


  • Target students, in our case Humanities Students 

  • Control group, in our case Pedagogy Students


The relevant skills items are shown in a random order. For each item, students have to indicate the degree to which they felt they had developed this skill during their university education (from 1 ‘completely disagree’ to 6 ‘completely agree’).

See resource "Questionnaire" for a template of the questionnaire.


Exploratory factor analysis

Exploratory factor analyses cluster the items that students interpret as similar into clusters, based on answer behavior and variance. For each cluster, researchers then need to manually create a label, based on the content of the items.


For example:

  • Creativity cluster description: "Humanities graduates have an 
    artistic side and thus have a knack for coming up with new and 
    innovative ideas." 

  • Example item from the cluster: "I can think out of the box to come up with new ideas."

Concrete Wall

More information

A full overview of the methodology used in this research can be found in De Dijn et al. (2023).

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