This survey is measuring student engagement. Student engagement with higher education is enhanced through exposing students to a high quality learning environment. Measuring engagement provides a means to develop a fuller understanding of the student experience above and beyond that ascertained through student satisfaction surveys. 

Review of

A comprehensive review of the survey instrument was carried out in 2021 ahead of fieldwork 2022. The review had four significant outcomes, which are documented in the Final Report on the Review of below:

1. Minor revisions to the clarity of the questions which contribute to an indicator

Minor revisions were made to a small number of questions which contribute to an indicator. A copy of the questionnaire for 2022 is available below.

The survey will remain available in both English and Irish language versions; students will have the option to select their preferred language at the beginning of the survey.


2. Revisions to the questions which do not contribute to an indicator

Four of the questions which do not contribute to an indicator have been removed. Eight have been combined to create a new indicator (Learning, Creative and Social Skills). The question on withdrawal has been added as a standard question for all institutions. The rest have been retained, some with minor revisions to the clarity of the question. 

3. Optional Topical Modules

The addition of an optional “Topical Module” was piloted in 2022. Topical Modules are small sets of pre-tested standardised questions which institutions can add on to their survey. Institutions may select one to add for all students. The five optional Topical Modules are:

  • Topical Module 1: Career & Workforce Preparation
  • Topical Module 2: Civic Engagement
  • Topical Module 3: Experiences with Online Learning
  • Topical Module 4: Inclusiveness and Engagement with Diversity
  • Topical Module 5: Academic Integrity


4. Questions to identify additional cohorts

A national pilot study was carried out in 2022. Students are asked to self-identify characteristics which are not currently included in the student characteristics collected for the purposes of Results have been analysed using these characteristics nationally in 2022.

The Survey Questions

The 2016-2021 Survey Questions

Validity and reliability of the question set


The first national survey for postgraduate research students ran as a pilot in 2018. The survey is referred to as PGR (formerly ISSE-PGR). A report of independent testing of the validity and reliability of data from the pilot PGR survey is available below.

The same question set was used in 2013, 2014 and 2015. A revised survey for was introduced in 2016 and will be retained for future years. The revised questions are the result of experiences gained since the 2013 national pilot, analysis of three years’ resulting data, and related national and international developments. The number of questions was reduced and the questions were simplified, but the ability to compare with similar surveys internationally is maintained.

A report of independent testing of the validity and reliability of data for the 2016 question set is available below.

Following the 2021 peroidic review and inclusion of the additional Topical Module questions, a second independent testing of the validity and reliability of data was carried out in 2023. The report can also be found below.

Sunny day on UL campus