Developing a survey of postgraduate taught students

Pollard E, Gloster R, Griggs J, Comanaru R |   | The Office for Students | May 2018

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This report, authored by researchers from IES and NatCen Social Research on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, offers recommendations for the structure and content of a survey of postgraduate taught study. The UK does not currently have a survey of taught postgraduate students and with growing interest in accountability with regards to postgraduate study, the UK funding bodies commissioned this research to explore the potential for such a survey.

This report therefore considers survey considerations and design principles, such as what should be the content or themes of the survey questions; the survey's length and general 'good practice' principles in survey design; and the constraints of conducting surveys with a student population, such as timing of the surveys and the challenges of dealing with such a diverse target population.

The report is based on findings from a literature review as well as feedback gathered from postgraduate taught students and expert stakeholders. The report also offers recommendations for further exploratory work to support the development of the survey, such as scoping additional data sources that might be combined with the survey data to offer further analysis.