Postgraduate Research Experience Survey: A Guide for Staff

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey begins at
the University of Surrey from Monday 20th March 2023

This guide has been produced to help staff support students through the survey process.

Why is PRES important?

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey is a national survey, co-ordinated by Advance HE. The Doctoral College at the University of Surrey carries out the survey. It launches here from week beginning Monday 20th March 2023 and closes on Sunday 30th April 2023.

The University of Surrey and Students’ Union are promoting the survey to help encourage as many eligible postgraduate researchers as possible to complete it online and to give their feedback. The more postgraduate researchers who complete it, the more representative it will be.

The survey is the chance for research postgraduates to feedback on their experience. We need to know what postgraduates think so we can address issues and keep doing what is valued. It is an opportunity to say what went well and what could have been improved.

The survey is anonymous so no one can be identified from the results.

Postgraduate researchers will receive an email asking them to fill in the survey and a link to it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will PRES be carried out?

The survey is carried out by the Doctoral College and the questionnaire hosted online by Jisc Online Surveys. From Monday 20th March 2023, all postgraduate researchers will receive an email asking them to complete the survey. Staff will also be sent an email with a link to circulate and your help in doing this would be much appreciated.

Any postgraduate researchers not completing the survey within the first couple of weeks will receive further reminders. The survey will close on Sunday 30th April 2023.

What will be asked?

The survey questions are broken down into the following areas:

  • supervision
  • resources
  • research culture
  • progress and assessment
  • responsibilities
  • support
  • research skills and professional development
  • opportunities
  • overall experience
  • motivations
  • demographic details

Within these categories, students are asked to agree or disagree with statements (on a 5-point scale of Definitely Disagree to Definitely Agree) or indicate how often a learning style or behaviour is encouraged. Postgraduate researchers are encouraged to take an overview of their experience of the whole course and take into account the balance of what constitutes a ‘better’ and ‘worse’ experience.

What if students don’t want to take part?

We strongly encourage postgraduate researchers to fill it in as soon as possible because their experience and views are very important. However, it is not compulsory. Students can opt out and can respond to invitation emails and let the University know they don’t want to take part. 

How will I see the results?

The results of institutions aggregated together are published by Advance HE. Institutions own their results and can decide whether to make them public. Detailed results will be available to staff from July 2023 (date to be confirmed). All reporting should provide a fair and balanced picture of provision and should be directed towards enhancing practice.

Further Information

You can find more information about the survey here: Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) | Advance HE (