Research – Graduate School Web Sites

My research about Graduate School Web Sites included a comparative analysis of 30 Graduate School Sites. My overall conclusions came about from a mix of the information gathered from research and what I look for on a graduate school page. I looked for the width of the graduate school page, whether or not the website printed, if the graduate school page and the main university page had a consistent look, whether or not the navigation changed while viewing the site, the name of the link that took you to the graduate school page, number of clicks to the graduate school page, whether or not physics information was easily found, and the main navigation on the graduate school page.

The following schools were included in my study:

Arizona State University of Hawaii
Case Western Reserve University of Miami
Cornell University of Minnesota
Florida State University of Alaska
Harvard University of Arizona
Illinois State University of Chicago
Iowa State University of Cincinnati
Johns Hopkins University University of Connecticut
Michigan State University of Georgia
Minnesota State University of Illinois
New Mexico State University of Iowa
Ohio State University of Rochester
Princeton University of Texas
Stanford University of Washington
Texas A&M Washington State

General Data:

Width  1000px
Print  Yes, most sites printed in a legible way
Consistant Look Most of the pages had beautiful landing pages.That beauty ended with the Graduate school page. Most schools had uniform looking pages until you started going through the Grad schoolpages. At that point design elements changed, width changed, and the location of where you
where was lost
Same Nav Apart from a few schools, most did not have the same or similair navigation on the site. In many cases the navigation
moved to a different location on the site and sub navigation was put where the main navigation was on the main page
# Clicks to Grad Page  2
Most Common Top 5 Navigation Elements Link Name to Graduate School Page
About Us Graduate
Students Graduate Studies
Academics Graduate Admissions
Facutly/Post Doc Graduate Degree
Contact Us Graduate Program

Conclusions:

The main issue I had was a consistency with the correlation with sites that I could find information about physics graduate programs. What I found was that the sites that had a more visually pleasing site did not have department information as easily found. The opposite also held true, sites that were less visually pleasing had department information more easily found.

The navigation terms chosen for the graduate school sites was interesting. Being a student looking for a graduate school I wouldn’t know where to look for the information I need (departments, degree programs, research, ect.). Navigation terms that I would look for would be terms such as Graduate Programs, Research, and Applications. As far as the term to go to the graduate page, I think all of the top 5 listed above would be acceptable, but this link needs to be in the main navigation of the main university site (a few schools had the grad school link buried in text).

Research Poster

Research Sheet

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