D²iCE Researcher's Report on the Application of NLP for Analysing Survey Data

Posted on February 21, 2024 

Dr. Arash Joorabchi and Ph.D. candidate Abbirah Ahmed investigated the application of various NLP methods for automatic analysis and visualization of the StudentSurvey.ie dataset. Over the last 6 years, 232,450 students have completed StudentSurvey.ie, each answering over 60 questions about their experiences of higher education. This project aimed to evaluate the application and effectiveness of various NLP methods for automatic analysis and visualization of free-form text answers in the dataset.

The StudentSurvey.ie Steering Group funded five research bursaries in October 2022 to analyse the qualitative data generated by StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie. The bursary awards aimed to promote greater ownership and encourage wider use of the StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie data. Proposals for the analysis of the qualitative data were invited from members of the research community within the participating institutions, as well as commercial data analysis companies. The projects were completed in May 2023.

Each project is an independent project undertaken by qualified and experienced researchers on behalf of StudentSurvey.ie. Each project took a unique approach. The commonalities between all five projects are that they all utilised well-grounded methodologies, offer mechanisms for replication of the analysis in future years, and are innovative and authentic.

The final technical reports were published in December 2023 and are now available on the StudentSurvey website (https://studentsurvey.ie/sites/default/files/2024-02/APPLIC~2.PDF).