During my time as UK Web Focus based at UKOLN, University of Bath it became apparent that there was a need to gather evidence of use of services, particularly new services, in order to help identify emerging patterns of best practice.

A significant numbers of blog posts were therefore published on the UK Web Focus blog which typically analysed patterns across the 24 (originally 20) Russell Group universities and use the evidence as the basis of discussions on best practices. The survey methodology was also documented so that other institutions could apply the methodology for their own institution and compare their findings with their peers, having been alerted to potential limitations of the survey methodology and the interpretation of the findings.

The following surveys may be of interest to institutional web managers:

No.TitleDateNote
General
1University Web Sites Cost Money!16 Nov 2010On need for evidence, following article in Daily Telegraph.
2Paradata for Online Surveys29 Nov 2011Post on the need to document the methodology used in surveys in order that findings are reproducible.
Institutional Web Site
1HTML and RDFa Analysis of Welsh University Home Pages17 Nov 2010Survey of HTML characteristics of the 11 Welsh university home pages.
2Trends For University Web Site Search Engines5 Dec 2010Analysis of institutional search engines used across 20 Russell Group university web sites (75% use of Google solution).
3Are Russell Group Universities Ready for the Mobile Web?19 Apr 2011Survey of 20 Russell group university home pages using the mobileOK checker service.
4Are University Web Sites in Decline?20 Oct 2011Survey of usage trends for 20 Russell Group universities.
5SEO Analysis of UK Russell Group University Home Pages Using Blekko25 Jan 2012Survey of inbound link characteristics of 20 Russell Group university home pages suing Blekko tool.
6Analysis of Incoming Links to Russell Group University Home Pages1 Feb 2012Analysis of inbound links to 20 Russell group university home page, with discussion of domain naming characteristics.
7An SEO Analysis of UK University Web Sites8 Feb 2012SEO analysis across UK University Web sites using Blekko.
8Google Search Results for Russell Group Universities Highlight Importance of Freebase24 Sep 2012Summary of Google search findings for 24 Russell Group universities.
9Analysis of Google Search Traffic Patterns to Russell Group University Web Sites1 Oct 2012Alexa analysis of 24Russell Group university web sites.
Facebook
1Planet Facebook Becomes Less of a Walled Garden8 Oct 2010Statistics for the first 8 UK universities with institutional Facebook pages.
2Use of Facebook by Russell Group Universities18 Jan 2011Initial survey of Facebook usage by 20 Russell Group universities.
3Is It Time To Ditch Facebook, When There’s Half a Million Fans Across Russell Group Universities?26 Sep 2011Follow-up survey which finds a total of over 50-00,000 ‘fans’ for Russell Group university Facebook pages.
4What Next, As Facebook Use in UK Universities Continues to Grow?18 Mar 2012Further survey of Facebook pages for 20 Russell group universities, which finds 240+% group sine initial survey.
5Facebook Usage for Russell Group Universities, July 201414 Jul 2012Survey of Facebook pages for Russell Group universities now covers the expanded 24 universities.
6Over One Million ‘Likes’ of Facebook Pages for the 24 Russell Group Universities2 Aug 2012The total number of ‘likes’ for the 24 Russell Group universities now exceeds one million.
7Implications for Institutions of a Backlash Against Facebook10 Dec 2014Further survey which discusses the implications of closing institutional Facebook pages.
Twitter
1Institutional Use of Twitter by Russell Group Universities 14 Jan 2011Initial survey of institutional use of Twitter by the 20 Russell Group universities.
2Institutional Use of Twitter by the 1994 Group of UK Universities 22 Feb 2011Survey of institutional use of Twitter by the 18 1994 Group universities.
3Evidence For The #UniWeek Campaign19 Jun 2011Analytics for the #UniWeek Twitter campaign in June  2011.
4Social Analytics for Russell Group University Twitter Accounts28 Jun 2011Survey of 20 Russell Group university Twitter accounts using Peerindex, Klout and Twitteralyser analytics tools.
5Social Analytics for Institutional Twitter Accounts Provided by the 24 Russell Group Universities3 Aug 2012Follow-up survey of 20 Russell Group university Twitter accounts using Peerindex, Klout and Twitteralyser analytics tools.
Social Media (General)
1Links to Social Media Sites on Russell Group University Home Pages18 Jan 2012Analysis of links to social media services on the home pages for the  20 Russell Group universities.
2Institutional Use of Social Media in China23 Mar 2012Survey of the 20 UK universities which have an institutional account on the Chinese Weibo social media service.
Other Technologies
1Nudge: Improving Decisions About RSS Usage13 Jul 2008Survey of RSS feeds for Scottish university home pages.
2RSS Feeds For Welsh University Web Sites14 Oct 2009Survey of RSS feeds for Welsh university home pages
3What Are UK Universities Doing With iTunesU?11 Oct 2010Survey of the 10 UK universities which have a presence on iTunesU.
4How is the UK HE Sector Using YouTube?18 Oct 2010Survey of UK universities with an organisational presence on YouTube.
5Privacy Settings For UK Russell Group University Home Pages24 May 2011Analysis of the privacy settings of the 20 Russell Group university home pages using the W3C Privacy Dashboard.
6Video is now a ‘must have’ in Higher Education – but what are the implications for accessibility?22 Apr 2012Growth of YouTube usage across selected UK Universities from October 2010 to April 2014 and discussion of implications for accessibility policies.
Web Management Community Tools
1The Decline in JISCMail Use Across the Web Management Community4 Jun 2010Analysis of use of Jiscmail lists used by University Web managers between 1999 and 2009.

The findings of additional surveys will be published on the IWMW over the next few months, with the initial findings providing a benchmark to identify trends.