Intellectual Quality of Life (iQoL)

An Instrument for Measuring iQoL in Academic Institutions

Lead: Liisa Holsti
Collaborators: Dr. Sarah Bean, Dr. Skye Barbic, Dr. Suzanne Huot, Dr. Dominique Weis, and Dr. Alison Wylie

someone filling out a survey

The University of British Columbia (UBC) has embarked in a funding infrastructure support program, Research Excellence Clusters (2016), to establish new research clusters. Thus far, measuring the impact of these new clusters has relied upon traditional indices of success, such as tracking numbers of publications, grants, technology transfer and overt signs of sustainability. But from “cluster exchange” meetings and informal discussions among cluster participants, it is clear that this program has other less tangible but no less positive effects that may impact the retention of the participants, expansion of the clusters, and the productivity and longevity of these new groups. we would like to document. These we refer to collectively as effects on the “intellectual quality of life” (iQoL) of participants in VPRI-supported clusters that arise from actively engaging with colleagues with whom they would otherwise not have the opportunity to work.

To the best of our knowledge, no measure of iQoL exists. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to develop a measure of iQoL which can be used to track the changes in research culture associated with the new clusters of excellence at UBC. We are primarily interested in understanding the following dimensions of iQoL, as they vary by research field, career stage, gender and other demographic variables.

- What do faculty most value and find most problematic about the existing UBC research environment?
- What difference has involvement in a VPRI-funded cluster made to their experience and effectiveness as a researcher at UBC?
-What qualities do they most value in research collaborators?
- What factors do those engaged in research clusters consider most important to the success of a cluster, including both attributes of participants and institutional factors?

We will approach this research in 4 phases:

1) Conducting inter-cluster focus groups gathering information on iQoL attributes;
2) analyzing data for themes and creating an initial item set for pilot testing;
3) pilot testing the iQoL survey locally (UBC) with subsequent quantitative mapping of item weightings;
4) refining item set and broader international reliability/validity testing.

Using qualitative methods, we will conduct a minimum of 5- 8 focus groups; our interdisciplinary/inter-cluster research team has access to at least 8 UBC research clusters from which we can draw. Data will be recorded digitally and transcribed. Themes/items will be developed from this initial data to develop the pilot survey ready for further testing.