Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 22 September, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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core definition

Qualities are the characteristics, attributes or properties of a person, collective, object, action, process or organisation.

explanatory context

Qualities is distinguished from quality, in relation to higher education, as the latter is a much wider concept including the processes to ensure the development of qualities. For example, a quality institution would encourage and develop an array of qualities (attributes) in their students.


The term ‘qualities’, is often used, for example, when employers talk about the qualities of graduates (that is, their knowledge, skills and attitudes).

analytical review

Websters (2004) dictionary identifies one definition of quality (singular of qualities, i.e. attributes) as:

An acquired trait; accomplishment; acquisition.



Quality — a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something; "each town has a quality all its own".

Synonyms: lineament, character. (WordNet Dictionary)


Wikipedia (2004) defines quality in a similar manner, again essentailly meaning 'a quality' i.e. attribute:

The term quality is used to refer to the desirability of properties or characteristics of a person, object, or process. In the case of a person this is considered in a particular context, such as worker, student, sportsperson, etc.



Quality, pleading. That which distinguishes one thing from another of the same kind. (Legal dictionary)


The University of South Australia (2004) refers to graduate qualities:

Graduate Qualities: The University’s commitment to graduate qualities reflects a world-wide movement within educational institutions such as universities. There is a deliberate focus on the development of particular student outcomes through educational programs. A number of different terms are used to refer to these outcomes including graduate qualities, graduate outcomes, graduate attributes, generic qualities and transferable or key skills. 

The University of South Australia has … developed a related set of research degree graduate qualities.

A graduate of the University of South Australia: 

1.     operates effectively with and upon a body of knowledge of sufficient depth to begin professional practice 

2.     is prepared for life-long learning in pursuit of personal development and excellence in professional practice 

3.     is an effective problem solver, capable of applying logical, critical, and creative thinking to a range of problems

4.     can work both autonomously and collaboratively as a professional 

5.     is committed to ethical action and social responsibility as a professional and citizen 

6.     communicates effectively in professional practice and as a member of the community 

7.     demonstrates international perspectives as a professional and as a citizen.

associated issues


related areas

See also


Harvey and Green Defining Quality


Legal Dictionary, 2004, details on , accessed 15 May 2011, still available 30 June 2019.

University of South Australia, 2004, Graduate Qualities, late updated 4 August 2009, accessed 24 January 2012, not available 6 September 2012.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary, 2004, details on, accessed 15 May 2011, still available 30 June 2019.

Wikipedia, 2004, details on, accessed 15 May 2011, still available 30 June 2019.

WordNet Dictionary, 2004, details on, accessed 15 May 2011, still available 30 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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