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Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS)





The Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) is a national survey (managed and supported by Vitae) that gathers the anonymous views and experience of research leaders in UK higher education institutions.

The survey aims to capture your activities and attitudes in relation to research leadership and the management of research staff and supervision of postgraduate researchers. It aims to capture your views on the capabilities that make you a research leader and how these capabilities may be developed in research staff as they seek to become the research leaders of the future.

The University of Wolverhampton will be taking part in PIRLS 2017.

The survey launches on Tuesday 21st March 2017 and ends on Wednesday 31st May 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re keen to make sure Principal Investigators and Research Leaders have the best possible experience while working at the University of Wolverhampton. To do that we need to know what you think we are doing well and what we can do better. If you’re thinking about taking part this year, these are the answers to some of the questions research staff often ask:

What is the PIRLS definition of 'principal investigators and research leaders'?

The Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) is targeted at staff in higher education and research institutes who are personally and formally responsible for the management of research staff and/or the supervision of postgraduate researchers, and setting the intellectual direction of the research. 

How will PIRLS be carried out?

The survey is carried out by the Doctoral College and the questionnaire hosted online by Bristol Online Survey (BOS platform, which provides a secure web environment for the design, delivery, administration and analysis of online surveys.).

What does it involve?

All relevant staff will receive an email from BOS on 21st March 2017 with an invitation to complete the survey. When you receive the email from BOS simply follow the instructions, click on your own personal link and complete the online form.  

If you do not complete the survey within the first couple of weeks you will receive up to 4 further reminders from BOS, until the survey closes. Once you have completed the survey, your participation is recorded and the reminders from BOS stop.

How long does it take?

The survey is very simple to answer and will take about 10-15 minutes of your time

Why should I take part?

PIRLS provides a valuable source of information for the University of Wolverhampton. In particular  it provides institutions with:

  • greater knowledge of the views and experiences of research leaders across topics, including leadership, management and recognition
  • progress measures over time and confidential comparisons with national results
  • evidence to support institutional submissions, such as for the European HR Excellence in Research Award, implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and Athena Swan

What will be asked?

The survey questions are broken down into the following areas:

  • Section A - Your experience as a principal investigator/research leader.
  • Section B - Recognition and value.
  • Section C - What makes a good research leader?
  • Section D - How your institution supports you as a principal investigator/research leader.
  • Section E - Equality and Diversity
  • Section F - About you.

Is it anonymous?

The individual responses are confidential to the Doctoral College and only anonymous aggregate data will be supplied to Faculties so no-one will be able to identify you from any results. The survey asks that any comments you make should not identify yourself or any specific members of staff.

The details entered into BOS to allow personalised emails and recording of participation do not link back to your survey responses and are only used by the software to ensure that reminders are not sent to individuals who have already completed the survey.

What happens to the results?

Your feedback is important.  Over 70 universities and colleges take part in PIRLS. This means we can compare your experience against similar Principal Investigators and Research Leaders at other institutions to see if we are supporting you as we should.

As many research leaders are responsible for and manage research staff, the results also provide the opportunity for comparison with the results of the Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) 2015 and a view of progress by institutions of the implementation of the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

How will I see the results?

The results of institutions aggregated together are published by Vitae. Please see the Vitae website for the PIRLS 2015 UK aggregate results

Institutions own their results and can decide whether to make them public. Detailed results will be made available to Faculties by the Doctoral College. 

More information?

For more information please contact Jill Morgan, Doctoral College on 01902 518769 or by email: j.morgan4@wlv.ac.uk