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Chapter 4 : Looking Deeper - Are quality of interactions important in the evaluation of college life among first year’s?

Variable definitions

Explanatory variable

Respondents were asked to rate five dimensions of interactions on a seven-point scale from poor to excellent.

“At your institution, please indicate the quality of interactions with

  • Students
  • Academic advisors
  • Academic staff
  • Support staff
  • Other administrative staff and offices”
Photograph of SU and staff in MTU promoting the survey

Outcome variables

Respondents were asked as in the last section of the survey a number of questions described as “final questions”. The first three of these were,

“How would you evaluate your entire educational experience at this institution?”

A four-point scale of response was available: Poor / Fair / Good / Excellent.

Responses were collapsed to a binary scale of positive and negative.

“If you could start over again, would you go to the same institution you are now attending?”

A four-point scale of response was available: Definitely no / Probably no / Probably yes / Definitely yes.

Responses were collapsed to a binary scale of yes and no.

“Have you ever seriously considered withdrawing from your degree programme? [select all that apply]”

Responses available:

  • No, I have not seriously considered withdrawing
  • Yes, for financial reasons
  • Yes, for personal or family reasons
  • Yes, for health reasons
  • Yes, for employment reasons
  • Yes, to transfer to another institution

Where a student answered no, they were deemed to have not seriously considered withdrawing; where a student answered yes to at least one of the reasons, they were deemed to have seriously considered withdrawing. 182 respondents reported both that they had not seriously considered withdrawing and had indicated yes to one of the reasons for considering withdrawal. As no further information was available to discern whether these respondents had or had not seriously considered withdrawing, these 182 observations were deemed invalid and dropped from the analytical sample.

Person holding results pull out

Background variables

(male / female)

The final sample included only responses that indicated male or female in response. A small number of participants indicated responses other than this. Inclusion of a third category of small frequency would have had the consequence of severely limiting the analysis at bivariate and multivariate level, as cell sizes would be empty for many cross-tabulations. Therefore, the available options were to group the two other categories with either male or female, or set aside these observations for this analysis. As no sound basis was available to group the smaller categories with either of the larger ones, the two smaller categories were set aside.

(18 years & below, 19-20, 21-24, 25-29, 30 years and older)

Year of birth was available in the dataset, but not date of birth. Those born 18 years or less prior to 2023 were deemed to be 18 years or younger. Those born either 19 or 20 years before 2023 were deemed aged 19-20 years. Those born between 21 and 24 years (inclusive) before 2023 were deem 21-24 years. Those born between 25 and 29 years (inclusive) before 2023 were deem 25-29 years, while those born 30 years or more before 2023 were deemed 30 years and greater.

Atlantic Technological University

Dublin Business School

Dublin City University

Dundalk Institute of Technology

Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire

Marino Institute of Education

Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

Maynooth University

Munster Technological University

National College of Art and Design

National College of Ireland

Royal College of Surgeons

South East Technological University

St. Angela's College, Sligo

Technological University Dublin

Technological University of the Shannon

Trinity College Dublin

University College Cork

University College Dublin

University of Galway

University of Limerick


Technological HE Institutions

Other Institutions

Agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and veterinary

Arts and humanities

Business, administration, and law


Engineering, manufacturing, and construction

Generic programmes and qualifications

Health and welfare

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

Natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics


Social sciences, journalism, and information

Statistical analysis was conducted using Stata 18 (Statacorp, Tx.). Descriptive statistical analysis is provided for both univariate and bivariate analysis, and significance testing for differences between groups is conducted through Chi-squared test. For multivariate analysis, binary logistic regression was employed to examine the relationship between the explanatory variable and each of the three outcome variables, and including the background variables as co-variates. Binary logistic regression results are reported in odds ratios.