The 'What Works?' programme sought to analyse and evaluate best practice skills to ensure high student retention in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), with a particular focus on students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Twenty two HEIs collaborating through seven distinct projects participated in the programme from 2008-11. The methodology consisted of combining student survey data, qualitative research with students and staff, literature reviews and analysis of institutional data.
A fuller synthesis and discussion of the programme's findings and both practical and strategic implications are given in the full programme report. Detailed findings are set out in the seven individual project reports. In addition, a compendium of effective practices in higher education has been published to provide more practical exemplars of successful interventions drawn from the institutions that have participated in What Works? and from the wider sector.