Zen, motorcycle maintenance and quality in higher education

Laurie Lomas (King's College London, London, UK)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Publication date: 2 October 2007



The paper seeks to deepen the understanding of university lecturers' perceptions of quality.


The paper employs a literature review to establish a robust analytical framework and the use of in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews with a random sample of 20 lecturers in a range of UK universities. The interview data was categorised using the constant comparative method.


The majority of the respondents perceived quality to be largely related to fitness for purpose and accountability rather than transformation. Many respondents made reference to quality assurance or terms associated with it. On the other hand, very few respondents referred to quality enhancement or associated terms.

Research limitations/implications

The research would suggest that enhancement activities in universities need to be developed further and then highlighted as the respondents in this small sample perceived quality to be more about assurance than enhancement. The research would need to be extended to a far greater number of respondents, as at the moment the results are largely illuminative.

Practical implications

Academic development staff should review the impact of their quality initiatives and, if necessary, consider different ways in which they can enhance the quality of the teaching in their universities.


There has been an evaluation of the effect of particular Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund initiatives and the impact of subject reviews, but there has been relatively little consideration of lecturers' perceptions of quality.



Lomas, L. (2007), "Zen, motorcycle maintenance and quality in higher education", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 402-412. https://doi.org/10.1108/09684880710829974

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