Postgraduate Research Experience Questionnaire overview

The Postgraduate Research Experience Questionnaire (PREQ) is intended to probe key elements of the university experience relevant to research graduates. In doing so, it obtains data on the quality of the higher education research environment for PhD and masters research students. Development of the PREQ followed the establishment of the CEQ, which is oriented towards coursework graduates.

The PREQ consists of attitudinal statements, each with a corresponding five-point scale ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. Respondents are encouraged to indicate their agreement or disagreement with each item.

With the exception of the Overall Satisfaction Indicator (OSI), which is a single-item scale, each statement in the PREQ has at least two other accompanying items (not necessarily appearing in consecutive order). Together these constitute a ‘scale’ that measures an underlying construct. Unlike the equivalent questionnaire for coursework graduates (the CEQ), which allows institutions to select some optional scales, the PREQ always consists of the same set of questions. This is due to the small number of research graduates relative to coursework graduates and the need to maximise response to each scale in order to provide sufficient data for analysis.

Core scales examined by the Postgraduate Research Experience Questionnaire





the quality of supervision


Intellectual Climate

the intellectual climate of the department in which the respondant was based


Skill development

the development of skills



the quality of infrastructure provided by the university


Thesis examination

the thesis examination process


Goals and expectations

the clarity of goals and expectations


Overall satisfaction

the overall level of satisfaction with the research experience


PREQ Instrument

The PREQ is administered as part of a special AGS questionnaire, appearing alongside a version of the GDS. The PREQ version of the GDS includes a number of extra questions that are specific to research graduates.


Download this PDF to see the PREQ as it appears for research graduates alongside the GDS (known as the GDS + PREQ). It should be noted that only the left side of page 2 of this PDF is the PREQ.

Written comments about the research experience

Also accompanying the PREQ are two open-ended questions about what the graduate sees as the best aspects of their course and the aspects most in need of improvement. Responses to these questions are not currently analysed at a national level, though they generate signficant constructive feedback at the institutional level. Many institutions are using these responses to improve the university experience for their students.

One popular method of analysing these data is CEQuery, a software package that is specifically designed to analyse the written comments generated by the questions. To read more about CEQuery, click here.