14 November 2018 | EQAF Paper

Implementation of the first national survey to measure the experiences of postgraduate research students

Sean O’Reilly, Jennifer Brennan (Technological Higher Education Association), Lucy Byrnes (National University of Ireland), Emer Cunningham, Suzanne Guerin (University College Dublin), Mary Deasy (Institute of Technology Tallaght), Michael Frain (Universi

A collaborative partnership of higher education institutions, students’ representatives and national agencies has developed and implemented a national survey for postgraduate research students. Data from the Irish Survey of Student Engagement for Postgraduate Research Students (ISSE-PGR) complements the significant data set generated by a survey offered to students pursuing taught programmes, which has been in operation since 2013.


Data from the established survey is increasingly used by institutions and national agencies in structured discussions of quality assurance and quality enhancement.

The partnership undertook research on a range of surveys offered to postgraduate research students nationally and internationally before developing an instrument that reflected the national policy context and facilitated some international comparison. Fieldwork took place in February-March 2018. This paper describes the approach taken to develop this additional evidence source for quality assurance / enhancement and poses a number of questions for further consideration.

This paper was presented at EQAF and reflects the views of the named authors only.

ISSN: 1375-3797 

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