Back indicator About the survey

Survey model and methodology

The National Maternity Experience Survey includes 65 structured, tick-box questions and three open-ended (free-flow) questions. The survey covers the full pathway of maternity care — from antenatal care, through labour and birth, to postnatal care in the community.

An international review of maternity care experience surveys identified international experience and best practice with regard to the models and methodologies employed to deliver a national maternity experience survey. The review also highlighted that international surveys have developed, tested and piloted their own questions or adopted some of those used in other maternity surveys.

Questionnaire development

The National Maternity Experience Survey includes questions taken or adapted from a library of questions developed by the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) in collaboration with the National Care Experience Programme.

Over 250 people, including women who have recently used maternity services, women’s representatives, midwives, public health nurses, GPs, obstetricians, policymakers, data analysts and academics were involved in selecting the questions most relevant to the Irish context.

The development steps are outlined below:

  1. A systematic review of the literature on questionnaires to measure women’s experiences of their maternity care was conducted by NUIG. The review identified 19 relevant, international maternity care experience surveys, from which each question was categorised for consideration for inclusion in the final questionnaire.
  2. Focus groups, involving users and providers of maternity care in Ireland, identified the most important question areas in maternity care.
  3. A gap analysis further identified questions which are relevant to the Irish context of maternity care.
  4. A list of 396 questions was assembled from the previous steps, of which a Delphi Study identified 95 priority questions.
  5. Picker Institute Europe checked the measurement and analytic quality of the questions.
  6. Further review by experts, for example, the Department of Health, HIQA, Picker Institute Europe and the National Maternity Experience Survey Programme Board further prioritised questions.
  7. Ten cognitive interviews took place with women who have used maternity services to assess the clarity and appropriateness of the proposed National Maternity Experience Survey questionnaire.