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The Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand aims to identify the factors that make New Zealand graduates successful. It asked about students’ lives in their final year at university. Those same students were contacted and re-surveyed at two years' post-graduation and will complete further follow-up surveys five and 10 years’ post-graduation - so we can follow how their lives are actually progressing. This “longitudinal” approach allows us to answer the question: Does a university education influence your life and, if so, how?

What’s the study about?

The study aims to understand the value of a New Zealand tertiary education by exploring how graduates fare in the years following university, in terms of their lifestyles, employment, career development, and their health and well-being. Show more

Why is the study being carried out?

The GLSNZ replaces the 35-year-old Graduate Destinations Survey that questioned all New Zealand university graduates about their employment outcomes six months after graduation. Show more

How many students are involved?

Approximately 14,000 final-year university students – broadly representative of the 40,000 students completing their studies at New Zealand universities during 2011 – were invited to participate in the Baseline survey. Show more

Am I eligible to participate?

The 8,719 students who completed the Baseline survey in 2011 were made up of final-year undergraduates, postgraduates, mature, returning, and international students. Show more

When is the survey happening?

The Baseline survey was undertaken during the latter half of 2011. The first follow-up survey took place in 2014, approximately 2 years post-graduation (although we realise that a number of study members will have been undertaking further study at this stage). Show more

How will the surveys be conducted?

All GLSNZ surveys are online surveys. Participants are emailed a link to The Survey page, as well as log in and password details.

How long does the survey take?

The surveys each take about 30-40 minutes. It is streamlined so that you mostly click on the relevant boxes to indicate your response(s) to each question. There is an open-ended box at the end of the survey, where you can choose to include more information if you wish. Show more

When will the next phases of the study be undertaken?

At 5 and 10 years post-graduation, in 2016 and 2021.

Who is driving the study?

The study was commissioned by Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara, the body which represents the country’s eight universities. It is being conducted by the National Centre for Lifecourse Research, which is based at the University of Otago and has partners at all the major research institutes around New Zealand.

How is the study being funded?

The Tertiary Education Commission provided $650,000 and the Ministries of Education and Women’s Affairs each contributed $50,000 to cover the first two years of the study’s development, including the 2011 administration of the survey and the first baseline descriptive report in February 2012. Funding for future phases of the study through to 2021 will be provided by Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara.

Who are the researchers involved?

The study is being led by Professor Richie Poulton who is Co-director of the National Centre for Lifecourse Research (NCLR), and Director of the world-renowned Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which follows the lives of about 1000 people from birth to now (the participants are around 40 years old). Show more

Who will be using information gathered during the survey?

The study findings will be of interest to: Show more

Does this project have ethical approval?

The Graduate Longitudinal Study NZ was approved by the Multi-region Ethics Committee (ref: MEC-11-EXP-049) for the Baseline survey phase in 2011 and by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (ref: 13/194) for the first follow-up survey in 2014.

What does 'longitudinal' mean?

A longitudinal study follows the same study participants over a period of time to track any changes. For this particular study, the 2011 students will be asked to participate in an online survey at three future time points: 2 years post-graduation (early 2014), 5 years post-graduation (late 2016) and 10 years post-graduation (2021). Thus, we are asking for approximately 2 hours of participants' time over the decade that the study will run.

I answered the Baseline survey in 2011 - why do I have to do it again?

This is exactly why we'd like you do the survey again - we are interested in how things change for you over time in a wide range of areas. Although a lot of the questions will be the same in all of the surveys, the follow-up surveys are also slightly different from the Baseline survey; we'd like to know more about your employment outcomes after university.

Why is it important that I stay involved?

This study is a long-term (longitudinal) study, so the more people who stay involved, the better the information we will have about what happens when graduates leave university. Show more

If I participate, can I have a copy of my results?

It will not be possible to provide copies of an individual’s results. This is because the data will be stored in a manner that precludes the easy identification of individual participants (so as to protect their anonymity). Show more

When will we see any results?

The research report with the 2011 baseline results was released in early 2012 and is available here. A research report with the 2014 follow-up survey results will be released later in 2015. If you are a study participant, you will be emailed a summary highlighting the key research findings.

How will the GLSNZ research team know where to find participants for future surveys?

We appreciate people’s contact details are likely to change after they leave university and over time. Participants can keep their details up to date by clicking here.

What if I haven’t been invited but I’d like to be involved?

The students invited to participate in the GLSNZ were randomly selected from across New Zealand’s 2011 final-year student cohort. The 8,719 students who completed the Baseline survey in 2011 were eligible to participate in the first follow-up survey in 2014. Show more

How can I contact the research team?

You can email us here:

What if I feel I need information/help about issues raised by the surveys?

Completing a survey about aspects of your life can be thought provoking or upsetting. For a range of services and organisations that can provide support, please click here.

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