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A beginner’s guide to education market research

If you're considering education market research for the first time, you've come to the right place. This guide walks you through the essentials: 

  • Reasons for market research in the education sector

  • The different methods used

  • Success stories 

  • How to pick the right market research company for education.


What are the benefits of conducting education market research

Inform decision making. By collecting research, you can make data-backed decisions. This reduces the risk of acting without insights or on gut instinct.

Understand your audience. This helps with your marketing, product development and other areas of business.

Identify emerging trends. It allows you to keep a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the market.


Spot opportunities. Conducting research can reveal gaps in the market for you to tap into.

Measure impact. By evaluating your current strategies, you can optimise them for better results.

Benchmark performance. You can see how you stack up against competitors and the wider industry.

What to look for in an education market research company

Industry experience

The learning sector is diverse, covering everything from schools, to colleges and universities, and professional education. When comparing market research companies for education, look for those that work within your market segment. This means they’ll already have some understanding of your type of organisation and the audiences that you work with.

Research techniques

Be sure to choose a company that uses a variety of methods to gain education market insights so that they can advise on the best approach for your specific project.


There are many market research agencies in the UK that work across multiple industries. The education sector is different to most, though. Given this, it’s a good idea to work with one that focuses specifically on learning and education.

Education market research methods we use

As one of the UK’s leading market research companies for education, we use a variety of methods to gain insights. These include:

Interviews. We speak one-to-one with participants, usually via platforms like Zoom.

Desk Research. This involves using existing data, reports and publications to help answer your questions.


Focus Groups. These group sessions usually take place online. Participants can share opinions and bounce ideas off each other.

Online Communities. We moderate online groups where people can participate at a time of their choosing.

Online Surveys. These allow for quick, large-scale data collection. They're also a more budget-friendly way of collecting learning sector insights.


Our page on education market research contains detailed information about methodologies. 

Education market research success stories

Here are some examples of how our clients have benefited from education market research. These summaries detail the problems to solve and the methods used.  You can read these in more detail on our case studies page.

Discovering why customers weren’t renewing

Our client, a curriculum resources provider to UK schools, noticed that customers weren’t renewing. They couldn't pinpoint the reason why, even with a feedback process already in place. We interviewed 18 customers who cancelled their subscriptions to gain insights. This research allowed us to uncover four key areas for improvement. The client followed our recommendations to refine their product so it better aligned with their customers’ needs. Here’s more detail around how we found out why customers failed to renew.

Deciding the next steps for a language learning app

Our client wanted to test out their initial concept ideas for a new language learning app. The main challenge was conducting a study in different languages. Tapping into our vast network, we interviewed English learners from countries such as China, Turkey and Brazil. Our insights revealed both the motivators and barriers to using an application for language learning. These recommendations allowed our client to improve their app’s appeal and usability. Read more about how our insight helped a tech company decide on the next steps for a language learning app.

Helping a high street retailer improve their careers programme

A well-known retailer wanted to increase awareness of their varied career opportunities. Our client’s goal was to understand what students and teachers look for in careers education. We gained insights through focus groups and online discussions. Through this research, we identified gaps in our client’s careers education offering. We were also able to test out how young people perceive the brand. The retailer followed our recommendations to develop a strategy to attract more students. Read more about understanding careers education in UK schools.


Refining the wording of the Future Skills Questionnaire for schools

We were tasked with seeing how secondary school children responded to the Future Skills Questionnaire. By interviewing 40 students, we were able to uncover their thoughts and feelings about the survey. This research revealed the need for clearer and more relatable language. Thanks to our recommendations, our client was able to refine the language used in the questionnaire. This helped make it more relatable, improving the results and outcomes for both students and teachers. Here is more information about cognitive testing with secondary school students.

Would you like to start your education market research project?

We’re a small and friendly team with 12+ years of experience in the field. Everything we do is tailored to your specific needs, so get in touch to tell us what you need. Check out our education market research page for more information.

How can we help?

If you would like to ask our advice, book a
no-obligation 30 minute consultation with us to discuss your research requirements or to simply have a chat and find out more about what we do.

Alternatively, use the briefing form to start discussing a new project, give Jill Elston a call on +44 (0)7703 462179 or email us

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