The third and final #StudentSurveyIE Social Media Takeover took place on Wednesday 30 June 2021 on Twitter and Instagram. The engagement was fantastic, as staff and students in higher education institutions, other researchers, and representatives of stakeholder organisations asked questions and shared their insights on the experience of postgraduate research students explored in this report. 

Thanks to Dr Michelle Share who took over the #StudentSurveyIE social media for the day, and to all of you who participated in the discussion. 

Download Report 4 in our series of 5 research projects to analyse the and PGR qualitative data, written by Dr Michelle Share and Dr Caitríona Delaney of Trinity College Dublin and Dr Rory McDaid of Marino Institute of Education HERE

Pick up on the Twitter threads HERE or HERE, or see a selection of images in the Gallery below....

TCD MIE Takeover

The authors then shared their Research Objectives:

  • A quantitative content analysis for the development of key themes
  • A qualitative analysis of key themes across the survey domains
  • Analysis of students’ comments about writing and thesis production
TCD MIE Objectives
TCD MIE Methods

The research team also told us about the Research Methods they used to analyse the qualitative data later on in the day.

We performed our analysis in two-stages.

  1. Quantitative content analysis to identify the main topics on which students commented. Qualitative analysis to identify key themes and sub-themes.
  2. ‘What are PGR students’ experiences with writing and thesis production?’

By lunchtime the Social Media Takeover had moved on to Results:

Support is cross-cutting theme.

PGRs value teaching & demonstrating opportunities but felt undervalued by pay & conditions.

Workspace is important for writing & thesis production, & peer support. Lack of, & inappropriate space, leads to feeling undervalued & isolated.

Induction & orientation are important for PGRs but is limited by one-off, none, or untailored induction & orientation provision.

Supervisors play a crucial role in supporting PGR students but many students perceive having a positive supervision experience as being down to ‘luck’.

Results image 1
Results image 2

Writing featured strongly in the comments within the survey data.

PGRs show concern about the writing process & identify the process as ‘a mystery’.

A lack of supervisory & institutional support for writing is compounded by a lack of access to appropriate physical space.

Writing is emotional work, particularly in relation to feedback.

Inappropriate, unconstructive supervisor support for writing can impede progress.

Strong constructive feedback also features.

PGRs have addressed gaps in their own knowledge and skills through peer support groups.

Michelle wanted to thank everyone who participated in the #StudentSurveyIE Social Media Takeover....

Thanks everyone for checking in with us today. Big thanks to my co-authors @CatDelaney9 and @RoryMcDaid. The opportunity to work with the data was a privilege. It is so important that the #postgrad voice is heard.
Michelle Share headshot

Dr. Michelle Share

Senior Research Fellow

School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Michelle Share teaches and supervises students, and delivers academic development programmes in supervision and examination practice, incl the PhD viva process, postdoctoral careers and Trinity Access Programmes.

Caitríona Delaney headshot

Dr. Caitríona Delaney


School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Caitriona Delaney is a researcher who has extensive qualitative data analysis experience. She also has worked with NGOs conducting evaluation research.

Rory McDaid headshot

Dr. Rory McDaid

Director of Research and Lecturer in Sociology of Education and Research Methods

Marino Institute of Education

Dr Rory Mc Daid leads the Masters in Education Studies (Intercultural Learning & Leadership), & the Migrant Teacher Project. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at CAVE in Trinity College Dublin.

The research series

There is one more report in the research series to be published, and this one was written by a research team in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, led by Dr Sarah Diffley. This report will be published next Wednesday 7 July 2021. 

Only catching up on this research series now?

You can download the first of the five reports, by Insight Statistical Consulting, HERE.

Download the second report, by Dr Darragh McCashin and Christine Boyd of DCU School of Psychology, HERE

Read more about this project and the first social media takeover HERE

Download and read Project 3, authored by Dr Seán Lacey of Munster Technological University, HERE

You can also read all about the second social media takeover, by Dr Seán Lacey, HERE