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The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2017


What is the PRES?

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey is a national survey of doctoral students, co-ordinated by the Higher Education Academy. At the University of Sheffield (TUoS) the survey will begin on Monday 27 March 2017 and close on Thursday 18 May 2017.

Why should I take part in PRES 2017?

This is your chance as a doctoral research student at the University of Sheffield to tell us what you think about your experience of doing a research degree here. It is an opportunity to say what you think is going well and what you think could be improved.  We want to know what you think so we can keep doing what is valued and address issues that may need reviewing.  Here at the University of Sheffield and the Doctoral Academy we want to encourage as many eligible doctoral research students as possible to complete the survey (PRES 2017) online and to give their feedback. The more students who complete the survey, the more representative it will be.

The survey is confidential and all identifying information will be removed by the PRES team before the results of the survey are disseminated.

The Doctoral Academy aims to engage with and develop a doctoral research community, providing a key point of reference and a supportive, thriving and vibrant community for all doctoral research students in the University. For more information on the Doctoral Academy follow the link HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will PRES be carried out?

The survey is co-ordinated by the Higher Education Academy. At the University of Sheffield it is administered by the PRES team based in Research & Innovation Services' Quality & Research Integrity team. The questionnaire is hosted by Bristol Online Surveys.

How do I take part?

As a doctoral research student you will receive an email on 27 March 2017 from the internal PRES team email address [pres@sheffield.ac.uk ] asking you to complete the survey; this email will include a link to the survey. The PGR administrator in your Department and your supervisor may also speak with you to encourage you to complete the survey. If you are unsure about anything to do with the survey, or haven’t received your survey URL link, please contact the PRES team at pres@sheffield.ac.uk. Any students not completing the survey within the first couple of weeks will receive further reminders. The survey will close on Thursday 18 May 2017.

What will be asked?

The survey questions are broken down into the following areas:
• supervision
• resources
• research culture
• progress and assessment
• responsibilities
• research skills
• professional development
• opportunities
• overall experience
• personal outlook
• motivations
• demographic details

Within these categories, as a doctoral research student, you are asked to agree or disagree (on a scale of one to five) with statements, or indicate how often a learning style or behaviour is encouraged. You are encouraged to take an overview of your experience of the whole doctoral programme and take into account the balance of what constitutes a ‘better’ and ‘worse’ experience.  A demographic section is included at the end of the survey, which enables us to check the representativeness of the results, and to compare results between different demographic groups.

What happens with the results after PRES 2017 has closed?

Over 100 universities and colleges nationally are invited to take part in PRES 2017 so we can compare your experiences against similar doctoral research students at other institutions in the UK to see if we are supporting you as we should. We will use the findings to inform decision-making on improvements to our programmes and to enhance the experience of doing postgraduate research study here for future students.

Results will be analysed and shared within the University - individual departments will receive the results for their department; faculties will receive the results for all departments within their faculty. Each Faculty will discuss the results at a Faculty PGR Committee and agree an action plan for addressing issues that the results are telling them.

A university-wide report will be produced and shared with the Doctoral Academy Committee. As already highlighted, the survey is confidential and all identifying information will be removed by the survey team before the results of the survey are disseminated.

As with the previous PRES’ that TUoS has taken part in (2011, 2013 and 2015), we will also publish in a web page in the format ‘You said….we did’ later in the year, once Faculty action plans have been agreed. A link to the 2015 web page on what TUoS and its Faculties did can be found HERE.