Lol every year these rankings get more and more peculiar. They are completely inconsistent across the board, and to be honest The Times/Sunday Times + world rankings are about all I think are reliable (given that rankings don't seem to change as dramatically every year). The Guardian is the most bizarre and The Complete University Guide is a close second - how can universities move 6-8 places every year? And how is LSE better than Oxford? As strong as it is I doubt anyone could disagree that Oxford and Cambridge still hold the crowns for best universities in the UK.
I also find it odd that despite all the new investment, excellent world rankings, and new membership of the Russell Group that Queen Mary has dropped 6 places in a year that has been marked by success. It has also just built the new ArtsTwo building and yet the History ranking also fell several places. I just find it a bit strange personally.
Last edited by HighestKungFu; 24-04-2012 at 15:54.
(Original post by y.yousef)
Okay then, can you explain what Russel Group 'actually' is then?
Yes and have done many times.
It's a lobbying group comprised of larger research intensive universities. It currently has 20 members (the membership will be expanded with Durham, York, Queen Mary and Exeter, all members of the 1994 Group, joining soon). Ninteen of the current twenty members are in the top 20 of the country in terms of research income.
League tables are not meant to represent the membership of the Russell Group, which is not a selection of "the best 20 or so universities". League tables attempt to rank universities according to the criteria the compilers feel are important.
As league tables include things like graduate prospects, student satisfaction and entry standards, the membership of the Russell Group will not be identical (or near identical) to the top 20 in a league table, unless that league table looked at research power and income only. You will always have a large number of universities outside the Russell Group in that top 20, namely some universities from the 1994 Group - a lobbying group for smaller research intensive universities formally established in the same year that the Russell Group was formally/officially established.
Im going to make an important point here before I do though ill give a disclaimer.
Disclaimer: I am in no way making any conclusions of universities based on this data, I have my own personal opinions which I will not disclose (they are irrelevant). The point I make is based purely on this league table, and does NOT reflect my opinions on the university.
If you look at the actual ppts of the rankings, you will see that the top 5 have all either risen, or stayed so high they have met a celing effect. For example Durham was 5th place in the 2012 tables, and 5th in the 2013 however it has risen from 890 to 912 ppts, a significant rise. The same is true of LSE and IC; Oxbridge doesnt have much hope of rising on this relative system due to the ceiling effect. My point is, there is evidence of an increase in quality (as measured by this league table) for all of the top 5 universities. This should be taken into account. Also when I say 'top 5' please See my disclaimer.
I challenge you to make your own, using well defined and relevant criteria, i.e a quantitative study. If you can do this I applaud you, and I also expect you will get some suprises the reason for this is because different universities do better based on slightly different criteria, but if it was so simple t o weed out the criteria, then there would only be a need for one type of methology. NB: Oxbridge uniformally come out on top for all the league tables, so it is easy to justify these are the best two universities in the UK.
Disclaimer: I never claim League tables are perfect, in fact far from so. But they are better at gaining a rough idea of the quality of a university than going after a vauge ghost quantity like 'prestige'. Other valid methods include looking at individual criteria such as research quality.
Perhaps they are misleading because they are so glorified. There shouldn't be a "league table", there should be many league tables on different aspects i.e. student satisfaction, research, tutor:student ratio etc... so people can differentiate based on what they want out of a University.
Also, if there is an overall league table they should combine Universities i.e. this group of universities are ranked 1-5, these are ranked 6-10 etc... as there is always discrepancy between league tables from different sites, although the Universities are usually in a near position in both league tables.
(Original post by ifstatement)
You're not in university yet are you? If not you probably have just started?
Yeah, once you graduate you will see how the league tables hardly have a meaning...
I am in university, but that doesnt matter so much to the point I am making. I never claimed either, that league tables matter hugely from an employability point of view (though I didn't argue the converse either), my argument was simply that a quantitative study such as the league tables are far better than trying to judge a university based on word of mouth and prestige.
I didn't even bother with the league tables when I was applying for University. Most people at my college either went purely for the EMA (back in the day!) or did a BTEC in Media. There wasn't that much encouragement about applying for University, and since I wanted to stay in Manchester, it was always going to be a toss-up between UoM and MMU.
about 30 of my friends did BTEC Media and loved it. I starred in many music videos and interviews. The point I am making is that none of them really bothered with applying to University!