|About Survey Registration Policy & Approval
Do I need to register my survey?
Submit Your Survey
Policy & Resources
In support of our mission of excellence in education and responsiveness to the changing needs of the communities we serve, we often develop and conduct surveys of members of the Mount Wachusett community, especially our students. Surveys enable us to collect the data needed to make decisions and develop our strategic plans. As such, we have developed the following survey policies and best practices to ensure that our information gathering efforts are efficient, effective, and timely.
Survey Registration Policy & Approval
While surveys can be a powerful tool for gathering information directly, surveys sent to the community raise important ethical and practical concerns regarding issues of privacy and questionnaire fatigue. In the past, these surveys have not been coordinated and students have sometimes received multiple surveys at the same time. This approach can result in survey fatigue for students and lower survey response rates which, in turn, reduces the value of the survey results.
Communication and coordination are our most powerful tools for avoiding over-surveying our community and using or abusing their time and goodwill to complete surveys. Participating in this communication effort is extremely important. It benefits both those conducting and those receiving surveys if we do our survey research in a coordinated way.
The purpose of this shared survey calendar and the Survey Registration Form is to improve response rates for surveys of MWCC community members by:
- Minimizing survey fatigue of respondents
- Decreasing competition for respondents
- Reducing collection of duplicate information from different surveys;
- Supporting staff and faculty in the use of best practices in survey construction, administration and reporting
Surveys that are part of academic research that may be reported publicly or research from outside the institution must receive MWCC Institutional Review Board approval. The survey calendar and registration process is separate from the subject protection requirements of the MWCC Institutional Review Board, which may also be required. The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) is not responsible for IRB applications.
Survey Calendar Registration Policy
MWCC staff or faculty who wish to conduct surveys of MWCC students, alumni, employees or external partners must have their surveys registered and on the MWCC Survey Calendar. This is done by submitting a Survey Registration Form (iConnect link) which is reviewed by the Office of Institutional Research & Assessment (OIRA).
Do I need to register my survey?
Examples of surveys which must be registered include:
- Grant programs or grant evaluation
- Academic program reviews
- Surveys by the Student Government Association (SGA)
- Surveys which address student preference or experience
- Academic research by an internal or external researcher, ex. for a dissertation completion
Note: Some surveys require approval through the Institutional Review Board. Please be sure to review the IRB requirements to determine if your survey needs IRB approval prior to launch. The OIRA is not responsible for IRB applications.
Exemptions: Surveys which are exempted from the registration policy are:
- Course or teaching evaluations;
- Learning outcome assessments or course assessments directed by the institution;
- Evaluation of satisfaction with a workshop or event by participants;
- Feedback forms or satisfaction surveys for students or customers recently served by the responsible party’s office, if conducted within a 48 hour window;
- Surveys as part of course assignments supervised by an instructor; such as surveys conducted within a classroom or specific course;
- Surveys conducted within the membership of an office, committee, student organization or academic department;
- Surveys of the external population which are not affiliated with MWCC that are conducted for the purposes of academic research;
- Petitions, including but not limited to those seeking support for political positions, are not considered to be surveys and are exempt from this policy.
Surveys Which Require Content Review by OIRA
We assume that members of our community will act responsibly and review the survey design resources and best practice materials before launching a survey, however, there are certain times where surveys are required to be reviewed by OIRA before administration.
- Surveys which will go to external audiences, such as to community partners, trustees, alumni, or members of the community under the MWCC name or brand.
- Surveys that are intended to be sent to the entire MWCC student body.
Failure to comply with the survey registration process will be brought to the Divisional Vice-President and may warrant further review by the Leadership Team.
Survey Calendar Registration
|What You Must Know:
Anyone who wishes to conduct surveys of MWCC students, alumni, employees or external partners must have their surveys registered and on the MWCC Survey Calendar. This is done by submitting a Survey Registration Form which is reviewed by the Office of Institutional Research & Assessment (OIRA).
Submit Your Survey on the MWCC Survey Calendar
As you submit a survey for registration, please be aware there are competing priorities and limited resources. These factors need to be balanced and the submission of a registration form on its own does not indicate the survey can be administered.
STEP 1: Review Existing Survey Results.
Review existing survey results from prior surveys administered at MWCC to determine if your needs are met there, limit duplicated questions or where there is a need to enhance existing knowledge from prior surveys. If your questions can be answered with a demographic break out of a prior survey, we are happy to help. Please complete a Research Request Form for the items you need. Keep in mind that a survey may not be the best way to answer your question; focus groups are an example of another research method that may be useful in certain contexts.
STEP 2: Submit Your Survey Registration Form.
Complete and submit the Survey Registration Form no less than 3 months*prior to the planned launch date.
- The completed registration form
- Copy of the survey questions, and;
- If the survey requires OIRA review, include drafts of the planned correspondence attached to the submission
STEP 3: Review. We will review your application and provide a response within 7 business days of the date the proposal was received. Please be aware that if questions on the survey are related to a specific unit, department, role or individual, the supervisor or unit representative will be notified. Further action may be necessary by the responsible party.
STEP 4: Scheduling. We will work with you to identify an appropriate window for the survey launch that does not conflict with other surveys already scheduled for the same population. The OIRA director may work with you to identify an appropriate sample of the student body that will meet the needs of the request.
STEP 5: Results. Information from surveys conducted by administrative offices, faculty committees and other college committees are the property of Mount Wachusett Community College. Upon completion, you must submit survey results and data to the OIRA to be archived. Sharing results enhances institutional knowledge, informs future assessment and helps MWCC meet effectiveness reporting needs. Completed survey results will be available to the MWCC community.
Survey Giveaways/Incentives. We strongly discourage the use of incentives with surveys. We believe that participating in surveys is an important and voluntary contribution to the MWCC community that should not require a reward. If you want an exception to this practice for your survey, please also include in your request why an exception is important and specific information about the incentives you wish to use.
Scheduling Priorities. In scheduling surveys, MWCC relies on established national surveys that are administered at regular intervals. Those surveys will have first priority and will be scheduled well in advance of the semester in which they occur. Other surveys will be scheduled as requests are received, so early requests will have an advantage. Whenever possible the scheduling preferences will be accommodated. When multiple surveys request the same administration period, survey priority will be evaluated by the department’s Vice President. Surveys by student organizations will have lower priority and surveys from external sources will be considered only after all internal survey requests have been scheduled.
Participating in this communication effort is extremely important! It benefits both those conducting and those receiving surveys if we do our survey research in a coordinated way.
*Expedite: We understand that some survey topics are focused on urgent issues and need to be expedited. We will take this under consideration if you are not able to meet the deadlines. Please try to meet the deadlines for less urgent and time-sensitive topics.
Need assistance? If you would like assistance or advice on survey design, submit your request at least 3 months prior to the survey administration time.
Questions about the MWCC survey policies and process? Contact the Office of Institutional Research & Assessment at 978-630-9479 or email Tiffany Parker, Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.