Piloting Being, Belonging, Becoming Survey

  • Dunbar-Morris, Harriet (PI)

Project Details


The University of Portsmouth (UoP), as part of its work to enhance student success and being, belonging, becoming (BBB) for its students, has developed its learning, teaching, assessment and support around a BBB framework, based on work carried out by Meehan and Howells (2018) which found that the values of ‘being, belonging and becoming’ were important to students, and that: the academic staff students work with; the nature of students’ academic study; and the feeling of belonging; mattered. The inclusive, supportive and accessible approach taken at UoP was designed to cater for a diverse student body and to be part of a whole-institution approach to fostering student wellbeing and inclusion. A BBB survey was piloted, during the pandemic, when the approach was first delivered, to evaluate the approach.

With the demise of benchmarked survey data (NSS) which will provide information to institutions wishing to evaluate students’ sense of belonging through monitoring responses on the item: “I feel part of a community of staff and students”, this project seeks to enhance the BBB survey for potential future sector-wide use, as recently suggested (Dunbar-Morris, 2023), which resulted in the first project partner (Sheffield Hallam - SHU, lead project partner) and evasys (lead support partner) offering support and development.

In this project we will test a new, shorter and more current (non-pandemic focused) BBB survey as an evaluation tool of initiatives that enhance students' BBB at appropriate level/stage within institutions. Question groupings (potential scales) cover:
First impressions of staff (Belonging)
First impressions of study (Being, Belonging)
Peer relationships (Belonging)
Perceptions about own experience (Being, Belonging)
Relationships with university academic staff (Belonging)
Personal tutoring experience (Being, Belonging, Becoming)
Access to technology (Belonging)
Overall student experience and satisfaction.

Pre-project UoP have fed in amendments to the previous iteration of the survey drawing on internal work and research and SHU have undertaken some cognitive testing with students of survey items. As part of this project, a pre- and post-survey in the 2023/24 academic year will be undertaken in all partner institutions (circa 40) at appropriate levels/stages for them (course, school, faculty, institution) dependent on institutional approval processes for student-surveying and appropriate initiatives for evaluation. Ethical approval is being sought. Mindful of needing to avoid survey fatigue, partner institutions may decide to replace an internal survey with the BBB survey for a course, or in a School or Faculty. Each institutional partner will decide in their own context.

Meehan, C. & Howells, K. (2018) ‘What really matters to freshers?’: evaluation of first year student experience of transition into university, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 42:7
Dunbar-Morris, H. (2023) https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus/changes-national-student-survey-could-prove-disastrous
Short titlePilot BBB Survey
Effective start/end date1/09/2331/08/24