The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE) can coordinate the creation, timing, distribution, and retention of surveys administered to university students, faculty, staff, or alumni. OIRE can also assist in the development and review of survey instruments.
Please feel free to contact OIRE (303-315-2840 or IR@UCDenver.edu
) with any questions or if you would like assistance with your survey project.
The Survey Working Group, composed of representatives from administrative and academic units from the Denver and Anschutz Medical Campuses, is a sounding board and guiding body for OIRE and those who wish to develop/administer surveys or other data collection strategies. The Survey Working Group sets the agenda and guides the timelines for institutionally administered surveys to students, faculty, staff and alumni. One example of an institutionally administered survey is the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which is administered to our Denver Campus freshmen and seniors to collect information about their experiences here at CU Denver and to provide leadership with data for curriculum enhancements and improvements to campus life.
The consultative process with OIRE and the Survey Working Group includes:
- Evaluation of Existing Datasets: Determining if there are data that already exist that may provide you with what you need (no need to reinvent the wheel!)
- Have similar surveys been administered?
Modality Determination: Establishing the best method of collecting the information (e.g., online survey, paper survey, focus group)
Instrument Design: Developing items and response categories, ordering items, using white space to improve readability, etc.
- Population Selection: Determining the most appropriate population(s) to include, sampling, etc.
for information regarding the 2013 NSSE
(National Survey of Student Engagement) Administration at the University of Colorado Denver.
With regard to external surveys, there may be times when university personnel are approached by an external individual, group, or other entity, such as CU Foundation, students from other institutions, or the Downtown Denver Partnership, for the purpose of soliciting participation in a survey that involves University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus’ students, faculty, staff, or alumni across departments, schools, or colleges; or that samples from entire populations (e.g., all undergraduate students, all tenured faculty, all graduates from a particular year). University personnel approached by such groups are strongly encouraged to contact OIRE to ensure the external survey does not overlap or otherwise conflict with a university-wide survey. 1
Some surveys may be subject to review and regulation by the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB),2
the university’s institutional review board. COMIRB protects the rights and welfare of human research subjects who participate in research activities such as surveys. Survey developers who are not sure whether their survey activity requires COMIRB oversight should go to the COMIRB website
Some surveys may also require approval from the institutional unit (program, department, college, and/or school) enrolling the student population you seek to survey. For example, in the School of Medicine, requests to survey medical students are vetted through a subcommittee of its Curriculum Steering Committee. You may need to check with the appropriate institutional unit to ensure access to your survey population. 3
- Do you know that you might not have to ask those demographic questions? Call us to find out how!
- How do you plan to obtain the contact information so that you can engage your population? Maybe we can help!
- Did you know that wording of questions can bias your results? Want to know what a leading question is?
- Have you included the appropriate domains within your instrument? What’s a domain? Ask us!
- Did you know that overlapping response categories produce indecipherable results? Not sure what we’re talking about? Ask!
- A good way to engender buy-in from your audience is to explain how the results from the current survey will be used and, if possible, how you’ve used results from prior surveys to make changes/improvements.
- Did you know that there is anti-spam legislation that dictates what information is included in surveys/emails to external constituents?