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Enhancing student engagement in student experience surveys: a mixed methods study

Publication type
Webber, M, Lynch, S and Oluku, J. (2013) Enhancing student engagement in student experience surveys: a mixed methods study . Educational Research, 55 (1). pp. 71-86.


This study aimed to explore the reasons why postgraduate students do not respond to the UK Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES). Three hundred and fifty-five postgraduate taught students from four health faculties in one UK higher education institution completed an online survey. Of these, seven participated in one of two focus groups. The online survey was completed both by students who completed the PTES in 2011 and those who did not. This provided cross-sectional data to compare both groups' knowledge of PTES and their reasons for completing or not completing it. Multivariate regression analysis was used to explore which variables were associated with response to PTES. Two focus groups were used to explore the themes that emerged from the survey in more depth. The resulting data was analysed by two researchers using thematic analysis. The cross-sectional data found that students who were not clear about the purpose of PTES were less likely to respond, independent of other potential predictor variables. Focus group data indicated that if postgraduate students felt a stronger connection to the university community they may be more likely to respond to PTES. This study suggests that higher education institutions may wish to review their strategies for advertising student experience surveys to focus more on their purpose rather than their impact.
Publication type:
Theme(s) and sub-theme(s):
Quality assurance and enhancement > Student engagement
Webber, M, Lynch, S and Oluku, J
Publication title:
Educational Research
Official URL:
Reference number:
Summary deposited on:
13 Aug 2014
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