What is the aim of the DUHEI survey?

The overall aim of the study is to determine the prevalence and correlates of drug use among the student population in the Republic of Ireland, to inform future policy and practice in the area.

Who is conducting the DUHEI survey?

The study is being conducted by the My Understanding of Substances Experiences (MyUSE) research group from UCC, in collaboration with colleagues from TCD, RCSI and the HSE, and with the support of HEIs, the USI and SU’s throughout the country.  The DUHEI team is:

The DUHEI Project Team is: 

Dr. Michael Byrne(1) Ms. Samantha Dick (1) Ms. Lisa Ryan(1) Dr. Samantha Dockray (1) Dr. Martin Davoren(1) Professor Ciara Heavin (1) Dr. Jo-Hanna Ivers (2) Dr. Conor Linehan(1) Dr Vasilis Vasiliou(1)

(1) University College Cork (2) Trinity College Dublin

Our collaborators are: Professor Mary Cannon (RCSI) and Dr Eamon Keenan (HSE).

How long is the survey?

Survey participants will be invited to complete different numbers of questions, depending on their responses. Survey respondents will be directed through one of three streams:
1. Never-use (those who report never using drugs),
2. Prior use (those who report prior drug use, but none in the last 12 months) and
3. Recent or current use (those who report any drug use in the last 12 months and one month respectively).
The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Who will be involved and required at a local level in each participating institution?

The survey team will require the input and assistance from a number of key Departments or individuals in each institution:
1. Registry (permission to participate)
2. Student Registration/Admissions department (to assist with sample size calculations for their own institution)
3. IT department (to help create the institution’s email invitation to participate list)
4. Students Union representative (local promotion and endorsement)
5. Local survey champion (local promotion and endorsement)
6. Promotional contact e.g. newspaper editor (local promotion)

What sampling method is being used to ensure a representative sample?

The survey sample size for each institution will be calculated using the probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling method. This will be based on the total number of registered students in each participating institution as a proportion of the total number of registered students in the survey population. The samples will be calculated as proportionally representative samples of each year of study (undergraduate years 1-5, and all postgraduates).

How will the survey be delivered?

Participants will receive an email containing instructions for survey completion to their student email address. Participants will have the option to click a link within the email, or scan a QR code to complete the survey on their mobile devices. The survey is optimised for use on both desktop/laptop computers, and on mobile devices.

How will the email list be generated?

The calculated sample size required by year of study for each institution will be forwarded to the institution’s IT department for the generation of a randomly selected email distribution list, based on the sample size calculations. The MyUSE team will not have access to the email addresses included in this email distribution list.

Who will send the survey email from within each institution?

The email will be sent to the distribution list from the account of the local survey champion, and including a signature/endorsement from the Student’s Union representative. How will we ensure anonymity of participating students and institutions. All participants in the survey will receive the same survey link, creating a single dataset of aggregate responses. The online survey will not request any personal information from the participants, and will not ask them to specify which institution they are registered in. The online survey platform will not collect IP addresses, so it will not be able to link individual responses to individual participants or institutions.

When will the survey be rolled out?

The survey will be distributed to registered students in participating institutions on the 18th of January 2021, and will remain open for two weeks, closing on the 31st of January 2021. This period has been selected as it occurs prior to the administration of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE), which runs in February-March, but after the Christmas break/exam periods.

Who provides ethical approval for the survey?

Ethical approval for this sector-wide survey will be provided by the Social Research Ethics Committee and University College Cork. The MyUSE team recognised that some institutions may prefer or require their own local ethical approval processes, in addition to the overall ethical approval by SREC. The survey team will work with the local champions to assist in completing the application process and to address any specific concerns, in order to maximise uptake. If required, the MyUSE team will circulate a document containing all information required to populate internal ethics applications.

How will the data be stored?

All data collected during the two weeks that the survey is open will be stored on the Qualtrics platform. Access to this is password protected and restricted to approved members of the MyUSE team. Once the survey has closed and data collection has ceased, the dataset will be downloaded and saved in the StorSimple repository. The original Qualtrics data file will be deleted within one month of the survey closing date. StorSimple is provided by UCC IT Services. It is a highly secure data storage service which uses stored onsite solid state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs) and cloud storage. The stored data is encrypted and Access Control Records (ACRs) are issued to ensure that only approved members of the MyUSE team are able to access the data. The data will be stored for a minimum of 10 years in line with the UCC Code of Research Conduct and Research Data Management Policy.

How will the results be shared?

The results of the survey will published in a report presented to Minister Simon Harris and all participating institutions in January 2022. The MyUSE team will also prepare the results for presentation at relevant conferences, and publication in peer-reviewed journals. Authorship of any publications arising from the survey data will be in line with the MyUSE publication policy. A copy of this is available on request.