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This cognitive fieldwork centred around three sets of optional banks for the National Student Survey (NSS): ‘Contact and Engagement with Staff’, ‘Careers’, and ‘Wellbeing’. Each question within each bank was tested in depth, to determine its relevance, its clarity and students’ interpretation of its meaning. Meanwhile, for the ‘Careers’ optional bank a number of alternative statements were also tested, designed to resolve some issues that had been pre-empted with the existing set of statements. Students were therefore not taken through any other questions that appear in the current NSS.

Cognitive interviews were conducted with 79 students from a range of higher education providers. A total of 79 interviews across seven institutions were conducted, including 13 via Skype, between October and December 2016.

This report collates feedback from all interviews conducted during Phase 3 fieldwork. Each chapter sets out the purpose of the testing, assesses students’ responses and closes with a set of key findings.