This protocol has been developed in line with recent studies of students’ collective agency (Damşa, Kirschner, et al. 2010, Damşa 2014, Hökkä, Vähäsantanen and Mahlakaarto 2017). Some questions address participants’ experience of developing and enacting agency collectively in their general, and others address specific cases of collective activity.

It is not necessary that you use all questions. Questions which you do not use in the main protocol might be retained as potential prompts or follow-up questions. The questions may be used in either one-to-one or group interview (focus group) settings, particularly where all participants in the group interview worked together on a project.

Evaluating collective agency in general

  • How do you perceive the role of students in your department/institution?
  • In what ways are students able/expected to contribute to (or influence) their department/institution?
  • How would you describe students’ position in your department/institution?
  • How would you describe student relations within your course/department/institution?
  • What opportunities do students have to work together (course and non-course related)?
  • How do you feel about students’ opportunities to direct their own learning?
  • Do you feel that students’ interests/opinions are important to the institution?
  • As students, what are your most important relationships?
  • Are there any ways in which you think students should (be allowed to) work together more?

Evaluating agency in the context of group tasks/projects

  • Can you tell me about how you discuss problems (at the beginning of a class or project)?
  • Do you have any general strategies for working in groups?
  • Can you tell me about any strategy you adopted or developed for working together?
  • Did anyone take the lead in delegating or making decisions?
  • Did you discuss the content of the tasks you divided?
  • Can you tell me about any (logistic, technical/conceptual, social/personal) challenges you face(d) when collaborating with other students?
  • How did/do you overcome challenges? How were/are disagreements resolved?
  • How would you describe your experience(s) of collaboration?


Damşa, Crina I. 2014. "The multi-layered nature of small-group learning: Productive interactions in object-oriented collaboration." International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 9: 247-281.

Damşa, Crina I, Paul A Kirschner, Jerry EB Andriessen, Gijsbert Erkens, and Patrick HM Sins. 2010. "Shared Epistemic Agency: An Empirical Study of an Emergent Construct." The Journal of the Learning Sciences 19 (2): 143-186.

Hökkä, Päivi, Katja Vähäsantanen, and Salme Mahlakaarto. 2017. "Teacher educators' collective professional agency and identity." Teaching and Teacher Education 63: 36-46.