Institutional Survey Policy

Purpose

Surveys are an important means for collecting information that can help to maintain and improve educational and institutional effectiveness, improve student and employee satisfaction, and contribute to general knowledge about the university. The purpose of this policy is to provide a coordinated approach to surveying the university community in order to:

  • Increase the quality of the information collected through surveys to ensure that valid and reliable results are obtained and can be used for evaluation, assessment, and planning;
  • Minimize collection of duplicate data and “survey fatigue” by combining data collection needs whenever possible and appropriate, and managing the number and timing of multiple surveys to the same group of respondents;
  • Ensure appropriate distribution and use of survey results; and
  • Further the Mission of the University and enhance the student experience.

This policy and accompanying procedures are in addition to and do not replace approval by USF's Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRBPHS), when applicable.

Who is Affected by this Policy

This policy applies to those associated with the University of San Francisco including, but not limited to students, faculty, staff members, and groups/committees who wish to conduct a survey of members of the USF community.

Policy

Any individual associated with the University of San Francisco, who wishes to conduct a survey of USF community members must submit a request to the Office of Assessment & Accreditation Support (OAAS) at least one month before the proposed survey is scheduled to commence.

Surveys with a desired sample size of greater than 100

Surveys where the desired sample size includes the entire population of the USF community, or a subpopulation, or sample thereof, of greater than 100 members of the USF community must be reviewed, approved and coordinated by the Office of Assessment & Accreditation Support (OAAS) before being conducted. OAAS will review the survey instrument, desired sample, and timing of the survey and approve or disapprove the request. Reasons for disapproval of the request include, but are not limited to: 

  • Data and/or information similar to what is being requested already exists
  • The survey places an undue burden on individuals being surveyed
  • The survey may reduce response rates of other surveys being conducted
  • The requested timing conflicts with another survey of the same or similar population
  • There is insufficient information regarding the use survey results

If the request is approved, OAAS will:

  • Identify the sample or population to be surveyed
  • Release the contact information of the sample
  • Work with the requestor to schedule the timing of the survey

If requested, and at OAAS’s discretion, OAAS can:

  • Consult on the proposed survey instrument
  • Provide feedback on the proposed method and design, sampling technique, and data collection and analysis

surveys with a desired sample size of 100 or fewer

Surveys with a desired sample size of 100 or fewer USF community members must be reviewed and approved by OAAS for timing of the survey only. Reasons for disapproval of the request include, but are not limited to:

  • The requested timing conflicts with timing of another survey of the same or similar population
  • The survey may reduce response rates of other surveys being conducted

OAAS does not provide support for surveys with a desired sample of fewer than 100 USF community members and does not provide contact information for sample populations. 

scholarly research surveys

OAAS does not provide support for scholarly research surveys and does not provide contact information for sample populations. 

exceptions to this policy

The following forms of data collection are exempted from this policy: 

  • Student evaluations of individual courses and instruction
  • Employee performance evaluation instruments
  • Surveys conducted by faculty and administered to currently enrolled students in their class or classes as part of instruction
  • Instruments used to elect USF community members to elected positions within the university
  • Student originated surveys conducted as part of academic coursework
  • One-time surveys designed to solicit feedback from participants regarding a specific campus event/program
  • Point-of-service surveys administered during or immediately following a service interaction

external surveys

In general, surveys of the USF community by external parties are mot allowed. Exceptions are only granted by the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. 

Procedures

surveys with a desired sample size of greater than 100 

It is recommended to contact OAAS through USFsurveys@usfca.edu prior to the development of any large-scale survey to discuss the nature of the survey, the proposed timing, and the proposed sample. This may help expedite the survey development process. 

Once the survey is developed, the following information must be submitted to OAAS through USFsurveys@usfca.edu

  1. A description of the survey project to include: 
    • The purpose of the survey and intended use of results
    • Desired sample or population
    • Suggested timeline for survey administratio n
  2. A copy of the survey instrument. If the survey has been created in Qualtrics it is highly recommended to include a copy of the survey that includes all branching or add Melissa Thompson, Associate Director of Research & Assessment, as a collaborator to your Qualtrics survey. 

Requests will not be approved and contact information for the sample or population will not be released without this submission. Additionally, submission of this information does not guarantee approval. 

surveys with a desired sample size of 100 or fewer

The following information must be submitted through USFsurveys@usfca.edu

  1. A description of the survey project to include:
    • The purpose and intended use of results
    • Desired sample or population
    • Suggested timeline for survey administration

Timing of the survey will not be approved without this submission. 

A copy of the survey instrument would be appreciated, but is not required. Additionally, submission of this information does not guarantee approval of timing. 

scholarly research surveys

Those who wish to survey USF community members for scholarly research are not required to submit information to OAAS; however, they must notify OAAS as soon as possible to discuss timing of the survey. This helps to ensure the timing does not conflict with a survey of the same or similar population or sample and can help to increase response rates. 

Definitions

Survey - is defined broadly as any means of data collection in which questions are presented to the USF community.

USF community - is defined as any prospective, current, or former student; or any current university employee. 

Resources

Qualtrics - For information about about how to use Qualtrics and to sign-up for training visit the ETS Qualtrics page.