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Course content is the main driving force behind students’ intentions to do a postgraduate qualification

Researcher Audience Insights - “Continuing your studies”, Exploring intentions to take a postgraduate course among Researcher’s users.

The higher education system as we know it has considerably changed during the last 18 months, having to adapt to the varying nature of the pandemic. Some universities tried to offer a hybrid alternative, blending virtual lectures with in-person seminars; others, on the other hand, opted for full virtual semesters on platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet. Whether on a smaller or a larger scale, all university students have somehow experienced virtual learning and have seen their lives being turned upside down by the changes brought in by the pandemic.

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Image by Researcher user - Using Researcher from their dorm room in University of California

We were curious to test the students’ reception of digital education and identify to which extent virtual learning has impacted their intentions to do a postgraduate qualification. For this reason, we conducted a 13 question survey which was distributed globally among the 1266 Undergraduate students who have used Researcher over the last 90 days. Some of the questions investigated which elements influence their decision when applying for a course and whether the nature of the course – virtual or in-person – was any of them.

The results that we collected from the survey helped us better understand not only what plays a major influence on a student when applying to a Postgraduate course, but also where they look for information about a university, and which are the most successful ways they can be targeted by a recruiter. You can find the report at the following link and download it for free.

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Our first discovery was that 87% of our students were either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to pursue further study and that most of them (79%) preferred in-person courses. When asked what mattered the most to them when looking for a course to apply to, over 1/3 of our users stated that the course content was their top priority – and a further 1/5 recognised it as the second most important factor in their decision.

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Source: Researcher Survey

We also noticed a correlation between the importance of the course content and virtual learning, since the users who shared a preference for entirely online courses were twice more likely to value content over other university aspects. In addition to this, the course material was also ranked high in the elements considered the most useful in convincing students whether to apply to a PG course.

Our survey also highlighted how over half of our users turned to a university’s website in order to gather information about a course, and that the most successful way to target them was through an email newsletter (over 50%), a dedicated email from the university (39%) or social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram).



Researcher offers an intuitive and innovative platform to over 2 million academics from all around the world. Our mission is to make it easy to stay up to date so that our users can concentrate on moving their research forward.

A big portion of our community (+350,000 users) is composed of UG students, who are kept engaged and stimulated thanks to our user-friendly mobile app, where we offer more than 4m pieces of content (coming from 18,000 different content sources) each week across areas that vary from Humanities and Art to Engineering and Computer Science. UG students use Researcher to gather research-level content, often in preparation for a postgraduate course and/or to expand their knowledge on their chosen study area.

We offer companies a gateway to better target UG students through in-product inventory so that they can build a long-term engagement and have a more effective and targeted marketing campaign. Some of the problems that we can solve for our partners also involve the creation of newsletter signups, contact capture and quality signups for virtual events, as well as the distribution of content marketing, course brochures, white papers and e-books to support lead generation.

To learn more about the survey and our advertising solutions, book a demo with our marketing experts here.


Tags: "covid-19", university, undergraduates, report