Teaching quality and research influence: how regions compare

The Faculty Student and the Citations per Faculty indicators are two important components of the QS World University Rankings. They are proxies for the teaching quality and the research influence achieved by each evaluated university.

The following scatter charts combine these two indicators, showing how institutions from different regions are performing. The horizontal axis represents ‘Teaching Quality’ while the vertical axis displays the ‘Research Influence’ results. In both cases we used the scores extracted from the 2013 rankings, which can take a value from 1 to 100.

Each chart has four main areas:
Top-right: high teaching quality and research influence
Top-left: lower teaching quality, high research influence
Bottom-right: higher teaching quality, low research influence
Bottom-left: lower teaching quality and research influence

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The results show the gaps and similarities between different regions. Europe and North America, for instance, are clearly achieving the best results, with a relatively high proportion of institutions in the top right area. However, most European institutions tend to be placed in the lowest performance group (bottom-left area), while those institutions hailing from the United States and Canada present better results in terms of research influence, with most of them performing in the top half of the chart. Interesting, very few North American institutions are placed in the bottom-right area, which hints about a higher focus on research for these institutions.

Asia Pacific follows the European pattern, although in this case very few institutions reached the very top of the research influence axis. On the other hand, a relatively high proportion of institutions from the Asia Pacific region present good levels of teaching quality complemented with a poor research influence (bottom right area).

No Latin American university was able to trespass the top-half border in terms of Research Influence, a clear indication that this region taken as a whole is in need of further improvement in its research productivity and quality. By contrast, some universities from the Middle East are displaying strong results in the research area, although they seem to be exceptions.

Of course, the brief analysis presented here is not an indisputable truth, but it may provide a valuable starting point to address two essential aspects for higher education institutions around the world.

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