Postgraduate Research Experience Survey

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) explores the experiences of postgraduate research (PGR) students across Universities in the UK and internationally. PRES allows us to compare LJMU’s postgraduate provision against others in the sector, to identify areas of strengths and areas for enhancement.

The survey is coordinated by Advance HE and LJMU runs it every two years. The most recent PRES ran during April and May 2019. 57% of LJMU’s PGR community completed the survey, 15% higher than the average response rate.

Many thanks to all of you who provided feedback about your experience through PRES 19!

PRES 2019: Headline results

  • Overall, LJMU PGRs reported high levels of satisfaction in the main areas of PRES. Ratings were above average for supervision, responsibilities, and progression. Satisfaction with professional development, research culture, research skills and resources were above average and in the top 25% for the sector. 

  • LJMU’s strongest area was professional development, where we were ranked 5th highest globally, of 103 institutions taking part in PRES. Within this area, respondents were particularly positive about developing contacts or professional networks, and improving their skills in communicating to diverse audiences. 
  • 87% of PGRs reported that they were satisfied with supervision. This is 1% above the average and has remained stable since the 2017 survey.

Graph of PRES 19 results

Increases in satisfaction

  • Satisfaction with resources has improved significantly since the last PRES in 2017, having moved from the third quarter to the highest quarter. Resources questions cover working spaces, specialist resources, computing and library facilities.
  • Research skills has also moved from the third to the highest quarter, with 89% of LJMU PGRs now indicating satisfaction in this area. This section asks PGRs about confidence in applying tools or methodologies, critical analysis, creativity and understanding of research integrity.

  • Satisfaction with Progression and Assessment has improved by 4% since 2017, moving from the third to the second quarter. This section encompasses receiving an appropriate induction, and understanding of milestones, thesis standards and procedures for the final assessment.

Areas for improvement

  • Research culture, although still in the top quarter for the sector, has declined by 6% since 2017. Respondents were less satisfied with access to relevant seminar programmes, and to a stimulating research community than they were two years ago 
  • The confidence of respondents to complete within the institution’s expected timescale  has also declined since 2017, from 83% to 78%.

  • Satisfaction with the overall experience of the research degree has gone down from 82% to 79% and is now just below the sector average.

What happens next?

PRES results are reviewed by the Doctoral Academy, PGR Representatives, Faculty and University Research Degrees Committees, and other relevant groups and committees. In addition to a University-wide action plan, each faculty is also putting together their own faculty plans to address areas for improvement at a local level. 

Further information

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Victoria Sheppard, Researcher Development Manager in the Doctoral Academy.