TASO’s aim is to develop more robust evidence about what for widening access and improving student outcomes in higher education. This means that we want to develop a better understanding of which activities cause better outcomes for students from disadvantaged and under-represented groups, why and how.

While every higher education provider is unique, many face common goals or challenges in their work to reduce equality gaps. We encourage

The design of any research project will depend on a variety of factors, including the research question and theory of change.  TASO’s focus on developing more causal evidence about what works to reduce equality gaps in higher education influences our choice of research methods:


TASO’s research and evaluation cycle for each of our themes follows a 3-phase structure.

  • Phase 1: Gap analysis; assessing the application and quality of evaluation, and identifying interventions / approaches that show evidence of promise in improving student outcomes.
  • Phase 2: Generation; conducting high-quality evaluation to fill gaps and build a richer picture of what works to improve student outcomes.
  • Phase 3: Review and dissemination; sharing research, evidence, and evaluation guidance with the sector via our website, events, and stakeholder groups.

TASO’s research programme

TASO’s research programme is built around key themes which align with our vision and mission. Our current research themes and projects are:

We also conduct research that may sit outside a theme.

Future themes will be determined in consultation with our advisory groups and broader stakeholder community.

Each theme is supported by a Theme Working Group (TWG) which is made up of sector representatives with experience relating to the topic.