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 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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Site visit

core definition

Site visit is when an external evaluation team goes to an institution to evaluate verbal, written and visual evidence.

explanatory context

Site visits, which often last several days, are part of the quality evaluation process. Usually, they involve a peer team of reviewers, who go to the institution that is being reviewed or is offering the programmes under review as part of the assessment, audit, accreditation or other external quality monitoring process.


The purposes of site visits includes observing facilities, interacting with staff and students, accessing documentation, scrutinising tangible evidence of student achievements and checking the veracity of self-assessment statements.

analytical review

CHEA (2002) defines site visit within the US context as:

Evaluation by a team of peer reviewers who examine the institution's self-study; interview faculty, students, and staff; and examine the structure and effectiveness of the institution and its academic programs. Usually results in an evaluation. Normally part of the accreditation process, but may be initiated by the institution itself. (See also peer review.)


Vlãsceanu et al. (2004) define site visit as:

A component of external evaluation that is normally part of an accreditation process. However it may be initiated by the institution itself. It consists of external experts visiting a higher education institution to examine the self-study produced by the institution and to interview faculty members, students, and other staff in order to assess quality and effectiveness (and to put forward recommendations for improvement).


The Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA, 2004) outline what is involved in a site visit as follows:

Site visit: The evaluation group and the project team usually visit all self evaluating establishments. During the visit, which lasts one day, the evaluation group will have the opportunity to talk to both the teachers, the students/pupils and the management team. The purpose of the visit is to obtain further documentation for the report. Prior to the visit, the project team will prepare a checklist for the evaluation group based on the self evaluation reports. This procedure will ensure that any obscurities in the self evaluation reports are identified. The project team will prepare minutes of the meeting after each visit. The minutes of the meeting are only for EVA’s own use.

associated issues

related areas

See also

peer review


Council For Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 2001, Glossary of Key Terms in Quality Assurance and Accreditation, last updated 23 October 2002, accessed 18 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.

Danmarks Evalueringsinstitut [Danish Evaluation Institute] (EVA), 2004, Home / Knowledge and method / EVA's method / Follow up, undated, accessed, October, 2004, no longer available at this address 14 March 2011.

Vlãsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., and Pârlea, D., 2004, Quality Assurance and Accreditation: A Glossary of Basic Terms and Definitions (Bucharest, UNESCO-CEPES) Papers on Higher Education, ISBN 92-9069-178-6, available at, accessed 20 September 2012, still available 29 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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