Evaluating Health and Well Being of Postgraduate Students in NUI Galway
In order to address the issues facing Postgraduate students at NUI Galway in the most effective way, this project underscored the areas and facilities in which Postgraduate students felt were most lacking and provided a strategy document to inspire change. Primarily an investigation of student health and well being, the project concluded with a strategy document that was presented to the Student Union and to Graduate Studies. Through constructing a thorough survey instrument including a generic instrument for psychometric testing, delivering the survey face to face and analysing the data to a publishable standard, this project highlighted a new and innovative strategy to underscore issues and provide pragmatic and deliverable solutions. The ultimate aim was that the study’s recommendations will be implemented. It is hoped that the same survey will be carried out annually to chart the changes in Postgraduate student’s attitudes relative to the successful implementation of the recommendations.
Work has commenced on the construction of a survey instrument and literature is being reviewed in terms of choosing generic instruments suitable for capturing well being.
Interviews are scheduled to take place next Wednesday 14th March, for the Masters in Economics (Health) placement who will be assisting with the roll out and analysis of the survey. Four students have applied for this placement.
The applicant chosen from the Masters in Economics (Health) was Anne Mc Devitt. A mature student from North Donegal, Anne returned to education through the Access 21 programme. She commenced her BA Honours Degree in Economics and Social Studies in St. Angela’s College, Sligo and finished her Degree in NUIG in 2011 with a 1st class honours. Anne hopes to continue on after the Masters programme to a PhD in Health Economics.
The Project is still in the construction process. Survey instruments are being reviewed, a study protocol is being designed and the application for ethics approval is being drawn up. It is expected that the survey will be ready for distribution across campus in early June. This survey will be conducted face to face for maximum response, rather than distributed online.
An extensive review of the literature, on the “Health and Well-Being” of college students, PhD students in particular has been carried out. From this literature, Health and Well-Being surveys used in other settings were consulted, a survey structure was identified and a survey draft sample was constructed. The sample survey was pretested with the help of a focus group of 7 PhD students across four Colleges. Richéal Burns chaired the group, Anne McDevitt observed and took notes, and Professor Ciaran O’Neill was present in a supervisory capacity.
Discussion took place around item and response choices as well as method of survey delivery. As a result of this discussion it was agreed some changes should be made to the original sample survey and the survey should be delivered online to capture responses from students based off campus for the summer months.
Following careful consideration of the literature it was agreed by the team the most suitable generic quality of life instrument for our project would be the SF-36, which is a well-validated 36-item questionnaire developed in the U.S. in the late 1980s and early 1990s to provide a comprehensive measure of physical, emotional and social well-being. The license for this has been sought.
The ethics application has been drafted and is ready for submission.
The ideas of the focus group have been incorporated into the survey and the projected launch date is Wednesday 4th July, pending ethics.
The survey was launched on July 18th and was open for two weeks. Overall 156 PhD students across the five Colleges responded to the online survey. Analysis is currently underway and a report will be available in August.
The draw for the Kindle will take place in early August and the winner will be notified by email.
Congratulations to Caroline Forde from the School of Sociology and Political Science for winning the Kindle Touch as part of the draw for taking part in the survey