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Over the last 6 years, 232,450 students have completed, each answering over 60 questions about their experiences of higher education. The Trends Over Time Research 20216-2021 website presents some of the data from 2016 to 2021 in an accessible and interactive format.

Click here to access this rich and accessible research.

The website is divided into 4 key topics:

Case studies from higher education institutions,

Results over time,

International data and

Key messages.

Image of black text on green background. The text reads - Presenting the Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021.

Image of black text on yellow background. The text reads - Read case studies that show the impact of in participating institutions

Case studies from higher education institutions

Within institutions enhancements are being made as a result of, and staff and students are best placed to measure and understand the impact of those enhancements through interrogation of their institutional data because of their understanding of the local context. This research includes case studies from institutions highlighting how they have used and PGR to effect change. It is hoped that this body of case studies will continue to grow in order to provide examples and effective practices to support others who are looking to make the most of the valuable dataset has created.

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Results over time

The results presented in the Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021 originate from six years of student feedback gathered by (the Irish Survey of Student Engagement; Suirbhé na hÉireann ar Rannpháirtíocht na Mac Léinn). Offering the same questions each year during this six year period allows us to present national results to understand and explore any changes in students’ perceptions of their experiences and engagement with their higher education institutions. Meaningful change does not happen quickly, and it best happens when based on the results of multiple years of data.

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Image of black text on red background. The text reads - Use the interactive dashboards to explore the Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021.

Image of black text on green background. The text reads - See the results 2016-2021 in an international context.

International data

This research concludes with the contextualisation of results in Ireland against 10 other countries. Readers may find these analyses of interest and they may spark further research.

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Key messages

The final part of the research is the presentation of the Key Messages. Click HERE to download these Key Messages as a readable, shareable, printable PDF.

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Image of black text on green background. The text reads - Key Messages from the Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021.

Goal of the research

This addition to the student engagement discourse in Ireland will stimulate discussion about the trajectory of student engagement developments and their impact over time, as well as provide participating institutions with inspiration and direction for their own analyses and actions.

Links with other publications

An important publication was launched in late February 2022. The Special Issue of the All Ireland Journal of Higher Education (AISHE), entitled Student Engagement and Partnership in Irish Higher Education, brought together an impressive collection of editorials, articles, reflections, journeys, case studies and rapid responses. This Special Issue was co-edited by NStEP and AISHE.

The Special Issue featured an editorial by the Steering Group (Nic Fhlannchadha, Hackett... Trench Bowles, 2022). The Steering Group members were proud to feature in this important publication and congratulate all of those involved. 

The Special Issue also featured an invited article entitled The Results of the Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021 (Nic Fhlannchadha, 2022). This represented the first publication of some of the results included in the present research. The management will continue to share these results in all available fora, including with individual higher education institutions, at national events and at international conferences. If you are hosting an event or meeting, and would like to include the Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021 in any way, please contact



This project was led by the Analysis and Impact Group, in particular the Editorial Group for the Trends Over Time Research. The Steering Group and Communications Group were also instrumental to the completion of this project. Sincere thanks are expressed to the members of these groups. 

As a person who deals with data on a daily basis, I would encourage everyone to go onto the website and take a look at this information. One of the areas that I found particularly interesting was to be able to see how the results of have been able to influence actions, projects and policy development within our higher education institutions.
Dr. Vivienne Patterson, Head of Skills, Engagement and Statistics, Higher Education Authority
It's an enormously comprehensive evidence base of the experiences of students in Irish higher education over the time period. Check it out! It's easy to navigate and there is a wealth of data there.
Sean O'Reilly, Data Analyst, Technological Higher Education Association
The results of have enduring value over time, independent of the year the data were collected. It is important that discussions about student engagement, and indeed the future of higher education, are informed by quantifiable shifts in the markers of academic, social and personal development explored by, such as Reflective and Integrative Learning and Collaborative Learning.
Dr. Siobhán Nic Fhlannchadha, Project Manager

Do you have questions?

Explore the site here to see the depth of the valuable dataset created by

Contact the Project Manager at or using any of the social media channels listed here if you have any questions or comments.

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