Tracer studies

Tracer studies (NEW)

Tracer studies

6–26 March 2023
The course is available in English, Français
Introduction to the course

The ITCILO and the ILO's Employment Department, Skills and Employability Branch have joined forces to organize a set of micro-courses on skills-anticipation and matching methods. A tracer study or graduate survey is a standardized survey of graduates of educational institutions, which takes place some time after graduation or at the end of training. The subjects of a tracer study can be manifold, but common topics include questions on study progress, the transition to work, work induction, career development, use of learned competencies, current occupation and ties with the graduate's educational institution (school, centre, university). Tracer studies are common in higher education and are being increasingly used in technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Reforms and programmes aiming to improve TVET systems try to respond to labour market needs, contribute to overcoming skills mismatches, and support the transition from school to work. To achieve these objectives, TVET institutions need data from tracer studies to measure the effectiveness and impact of their work.

Who attends this course?

This course is intended for a wide range of stakeholders interested in learning about Tracer studies or currently involved in designing, implementing or monitoring tracer studies. They may include: - Tracer study practitioners: researchers, school teachers, university lecturers or administrative staff; - Staff of ministries and public agencies responsible for TVET or skills development at national, regional or sector levels seeking to obtain information and data to inform decision-making; - Research centres and expert networks involved/engaged in carrying out tracer studies for clients; associations and networks with an interest in the evidence provided by tracer studies; - Managers of education institutions and other policy- and decision-makers who want background knowledge about tracer studies; - Social partners and experts who design labour market policies and participate in the decision-making process of approving skill training projects/programmes; - Representative of enterprises wanting to develop modern human resource management strategies; - Experts and technical staff directly involved in study design and implementation, such as survey managers, data collectors and analysts.


The main objective of this course is to help participants preparing to carry out tracer studies in their respective professional environment with a practical, output-oriented, quality assured approach.

Upon completion of the course, participants will have all the necessary tools to:

  • plan and design a tracer study with clear objectives;
  • develop the questionnaires and roll out the data collection phase;
  • analyse data, interpret and present results and apply self-evaluation.

Participants will leave this course connected to a global network of experts and practitioners involved in tracer studies throughout the world, which will offer them the opportunity to exchange regularly on this topic even after its conclusion.


This micro-course will consist of the following three learning units:

Unit 1 . Preparing for a tracer study

  • Key concepts, terminologies/definitions
  • Tracer study - basic steps, timeline, work tasks & minimum requirements
  • Setting key objectives of tracer studies
  • The design cycle

Unit 2 Rolling Out a tracer study 

  • Questionnaire modules for a tracer study
  • Questionnaire development
  • Data collection methods

Unit 3 Analyzing and presenting the results of a tracer study 

  • Data analysis – recommended software, techniques and approaches
  • Interpretation of results and practical conclusions
  • Presentation and dissemination of results
  • Self-evaluation of study quality

Individual assignment Develop your tracer study project



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