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Drake University Guidance on Administration of Surveys

Within the last several years there has been a significant increase in the number of surveys administered across campus. With simple, inexpensive (or free) access to online survey administration software such as the University-purchased Qualtrics software, the number of surveys administered will likely continue to increase.

The Office of Institutional Research is providing the guidance below with the following objectives:

1. Providing resources to the campus community on best survey practices (survey construction, modes of administration, reporting formats, etc.)

2. Raising awareness of ethical issues in surveys, and the need of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval when necessary

3. Reducing possible survey fatigue by coordinating the timing of surveys (see Calendar of Surveys)

4. Maximizing participation rates for strategically important university surveys

5. Avoiding redundancies in information collection

General Process for Administering a Survey:

If you are working on a survey of campus constituents or are interested in obtaining data through survey methodology, you should contact the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. The process would generally proceed as follows:

1.   Institutional Research and Assessment staff will ask questions such as:

a.   Purpose of survey;
b.   Desired timing of survey;
c.   Intended mode of administration (paper, web, social media, etc.);
d.   Audience desired for the survey;
e.   Question source (standardized instrument or self-designed);
f.    Ethical survey practices and guidance in determination of need for IRB approval.

2.   An iterative process of survey review/revision can occur as desired by the person initiating the survey. If appropriate, leadership of a given unit can also be engaged in this process.

3.   Researcher will submit to IRB, if appropriate.

4.   Researcher will administer the survey.

5.   Institutional Research staff will provide guidance in preparing reports of the data, or sharing the data with broader campus constituencies (as desired).

Other Survey Guidance Sources

The American Association of Public Opinion Research provides helpful guidance on survey administration. An additional site with free resources is found here:

On-line Survey Tool--Qualtrics

Any member of the Drake community can create an account in Qualtrics online survey software. Instructions on how to set up your Drake Qualtrics account are located on the OIRA website in the Qualtrics section.  The account allows users to create and administer surveys. Training on how to use Qualtrics is available by contacting the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. One-on-one or group training sessions can be arranged via the OIRA intake request form. Qualtrics is set to allow surveys to be administered to a maximum of 1000 individuals. Send requests for permission to exceed this limit to the Office of Institutional Research.

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