Action Plan in response to 2019 ISSE Postgraduate Research Survey

School of Business and Economics

Method Tables relating to the different indicators have been extracted from the ISSE report and presented separately.  The SBE average for each indicator is compared with the overall University average.  Figures for 2019 and 2018 are provided for the purposes of cross-comparison.  For the 2019 figures, the SBE figures are highlighted whenever they are 5 or 10% points above or below the University average.  The key is as follows:

Red: ˃10% BELOW University average

Yellow: ˃ 5% BELOW University average

Purple: ˃ 10% ABOVE University average

Blue: ˃ 5% ABOVE University average

Only metrics that indicate that the SBE is 5% points or more below the University average are actioned in this report.

Research Infrastructure and Facilities

 

2019

2018

Research Infrastructure and Facilities

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

I have a suitable working space

81.3%

64.7%

84.7%

79.3%

There is adequate provision of computing resources/facilities

69.3%

43.8%

72.9%

63.3%

There is adequate provision of library services

82.1%

77.8%

80.2%

86.7%

I have access to the specialist resources and facilities that I need

70.1%

64.7%

71.9%

72.4%

 We continue to see below average and worsening satisfaction with facilities. We have worked with the Moore to group our students in the Hardiman.  On the issue of computing resources/facilities, whether or not a research student is provided with these facilities is a function of the terms of their scholarship (if any) and whether the supervisor has a research account that can pay for such resources.  There is no general remedy for this problem.  However, it may be worthwhile to liaise with PhD students to get greater clarity on their discontent with facilities.

Action:   Seek clarity through the PhD reps group (PhD Director, VDGS)

Supervision

 

2019

2018

Supervision

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

My supervisor(s) provides the appropriate level of support for my research

80.2%

78.9%

80.2%

77.4%

I have regular contact with my supervisor(s), appropriate for my needs

83.1%

89.5%

83.1%

76.7%

My supervisor(s) provides feedback that helps me to direct my research activities

81.3%

89.5%

81.3%

80%

My supervisor(s) help me to identify my training and development needs as a researcher

69.2%

63.2%

69.9%

65.5%

 SBE students report average and above average levels of satisfaction with supervisor support, contact and feedback, respectively.  This is a marked improvement on last year and reflects various actions taken in last year’s Action Plan, including speaking to the issue at the College inductions and adding an explicit question about expectations to the GS030 and GS040.  However, the SBE is more than 5% points below the University average on the issue of supervisor support in helping students to identify training and development needs. 

Action:

  • Include component on identifying training and development in the induction programme (VDGS)
  • Develop series of short videos for PhD supervisors in the CBPPL to include one on how to assist students in identifying training and development needs and drafting a personal development/training/career plan (VDGS, Adrian Larkin)
  • Encourage/incentivise all colleagues undertaking PhD supervision to engage with Graduate Studies supervisor workshops (HoS, Heads of Discipline)

Research Culture

 

2019

2018

Research Culture

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

My department provides access to a relevant seminar programme

70.6%

83.3%

70.9%

61.3%

The research ambience in my department stimulates my work

63.3%

66.7%

64.1%

50%

I have frequent opportunities to discuss my research with other research students

63.8%

68.4%

64.2%

58.1%

I have opportunities to become involved in the wider research community, beyond my department

56.1%

61.1%

58.9%

60%

 All measures are up significantly on 2018 and are higher than the University average. Last year we introduced a PhD seminar to promote contact between students and between students and faculty. The VD also encouraged disciplines/units to work at a local level to improve the research culture for postgraduate researchers.

Action: Continue the PhD seminar series (VDGS)

Progress and Assessment

 

2019

2018

Progress and Assessment

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

I received an appropriate induction / orientation to my research degree programme

69.8%

73.3%

68.6%

76.7%

I understand the requirements and deadlines for formal monitoring of my progress

82.2%

94.7%

82.4%

86.7%

I understand the required standard for my thesis

72.4%

78.9%

76.8%

80.6%

The final assessment procedures for my research degree are clear to me

71.6%

78.9%

73.3%

74.2%

 Very high levels of satisfaction were recorded under this heading and notably the SBE scored significantly above the University average on monitoring of progress, understanding of the standard of scholarship required and clarity of final assessment procedures.

Action: No specific action required

Development Opportunities

 

2019

2018

Development Opportunities

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

Agreeing a personal training or development plan

39.3%

36.8%

41.2%

29.0%

Receiving training to develop my research skills

72.9%

78.9%

76.0%

77.4%

Receiving training to develop my other transferable skills

54.5%

47.4%

54.9%

51.6%

Receiving advice on career options

35.0%

36.8%

35.5%

35.5%

Taking part in a placement or internship

23.0%

16.7%

23.2%

10.0%

Attending an academic research conference

82.3%

89.5%

83.7%

87.1%

Presenting a paper or poster at an academic research conference

76.7%

94.7%

74.8%

80.6%

Submitting a paper for publication in an academic journal or book

53.4%

72.2%

53.5%

67.7%

Communicating your research to a non-academic audience

47.4%

72.2%

44.3%

38.7%

Receiving training in entrepreneurship and innovation

25.2%

31.6%

23.7%

22.6%

Putting training in entrepreneurship and innovation into practice e.g. submitting an invention disclosure or filing a patent appl.

10.3%

16.7%

7.7%

0.0%

Working as part of a team

71.6%

84.2%

72.7%

71.0%

Working collaboratively with industry

24.9%

36.8%

23.4%

16.1%

Working collaboratively with a civil society organisation or public organisation

23.6%

47.1%

26.5%

41.9%

Spending time abroad as part of your research degree

25%

16.7%

25.1%

26.7%

Taught (or demonstrated) at your institution during your research degree programme

76%

63.2%

78.2%

73.3%

The teaching / demonstration you delivered enhanced your overall research experience

58.3%

57.1%

59.0%

69.6%

You were given appropriate support and guidance for your teaching / demonstration

47.1%

53.3%

43.9%

40.9%

 Overall, students are satisfied with the development opportunities afforded to them during their PhD programme.  Notably, the SBE scored over 10% points above the University average on six indicators and over 5% points above the University average on five indicators.  However, students report below average levels of satisfaction with receiving training to develop their other transferrable skills and spending time abroad as part of the research degree.  Of greater concern still is the fact that the SBE is more than 10% points below the University average on taking part in a placement or internship and teaching during the research degree programme. 

Action:

  • Develop series of short videos for PhD supervisors in the CBPPL to include one on how to assist students in identifying training and development needs and drafting a personal development/training/career plan (VDGS, Adrian Larkin)
  • Liaise with Researcher Development Centre to explore joint initiatives and/or participation of CBPPL students in the Centre’s activities (VDGS)
  • Explore opportunities for PhD placement or internship (PhD Director, HoS)
  • Send questionnaire to all PhD students in the SBE on what they are teaching/have taught to date (PhD Director). Devise plan to remedy gaps (PhD Director, HoS, Heads of discipline)

Research Skills

 

2019

2018

Research Skills

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

My skills in applying appropriate research methodologies, tools and techniques have developed during my programme

86.9%

88.9%

88.5%

93.1%

My skills in critically analysing and evaluating findings and results have developed during my programme

87.6%

88.9%

88.0%

89.7%

My confidence to be creative or innovative has developed during my programme

71.5%

72.2%

72.0%

73.3%

My understanding of research integrity (e.g. rigour, ethics, transparency, attributing the contribution of others) has developed during my programme

85.2%

77.8%

82.2%

76.7%

 SBE research students are largely happy with the development of their research skills, with the exception of their understanding of research integrity.

Action:  A seminar on research integrity was provided in Semester 1 as part of the PhD seminar series.  Repeat this next year (VDGS)

Personal Outlook

 

2019

2018

Personal Outlook

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

I am satisfied with my life nowadays

76.5%

66.7%

 

 

I am satisfied with life within my institution

70.1%

55.6%

 

 

I am satisifed with my work-life balance

57.3%

66.7%

 

 

There is someone in my institution I can talk to about my day-to-day problems

58.8%

44.4%

 

 

I feel that my research degree programme is worthwhile

77.7%

83.3%

 

 


Taken together these figures are worrying, and have implications for retention and completion.  Notwithstanding these results, however, the SBE scores above average on work-life balance and the question of whether students feel their research degree programme is worthwhile. 

Action:

  • Seek feedback through the PhD reps group (PhD Director, VDGS)
  • Develop series of short videos for PhD supervisors in the CBPPL to include one on how to broach work-life balance with students and help them to develop a support network to deal with day-to-day problems (VDGS, Adrian Larkin)

 Other Transferrable Skills

 

2019

2018

Other Transferrable Skills

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

My ability to manage projects has developed during my programme

81.7%

83.3%

77.8%

76.7%

My ability to communicate information effectively to diverse audiences has developed during my programme

79.7%

83.3%

78.3%

80.0%

I have developed contacts or professional networks during my programme

73.8%

88.9%

71.4%

73.3%

I have increasingly managed my own professional development during my programme

78.9%

83.3%

79.0%

75.9%

 All above average or significantly above average.

Action:  No specific action required.

Responsibilities and Supports

 

2019

2018

Responsibilities and Supports

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

I understand my responsibilities as a research degree student

91.6%

94.4%

90.5%

83.3%

I am aware of my supervisor(s)' responsibilities towards me as a research degree student

84.8%

77.8%

84.8%

80.0%

Other than my supervisor(s), I know who to approach if I am concerned about any academic aspect of my research degree programme

73.1%

77.8%

71.0%

80.0%

How aware are you of the various student supports available? (Recreation, healthcare, counselling, etc)

 

 

 

 

Very little

12.6% 

11.1%

15.7%

20.0%

Some

43.9%

50.0%

41.7%

20.0%

Quite a bit

30.6%

22.2%

32.7%

46.7%

Very much

12.9%

16.7%

10.0%

13.3%

My institution values and responds to feedback from research degree students

45.0%

41.2%

45.9%

41.4%

 The SBE is scoring in the average range on all indicators relating to responsibilities and supports, with the exception of being aware of the supervisor’s responsibilities towards the student. 

Action:  Explicitly address the supervisor’s role in induction (VDGS)

Overall Experience

 

2019

2018

Overall Experience

NUIG

SBE

NUIG

SBE

How would you evaluate your entire research experience at this institution?

74.9%

66.7%

77.0%

66.7%

I am confident that I will complete my research degree programme within my institutions expected timescale

71.7%

76.5%

69.3%

64.3%

The overall experience of research students in the SBE is more than 5% points below the University average and has neither improved nor dis-improved on last year. 

Action:  All the above actions.