Purpose and Scope
Ohio Northern University has adopted a survey policy that aims to balance the demand for surveys with the burden that they impose on our students, faculty, staff and alumni. For the purpose of this document, the “ONU community” will be defined as all ONU students, alumni, staff and faculty. The survey policy is intended to help manage and limit the number of University-sponsored surveys that the ONU community is invited to take, help coordinate the timing of surveys to avoid over-surveying, ensure the safety of data collection and usage, and promote good survey design and sound survey practices. When conducting surveys, policies established by the Office of Information Technology must also be followed. These include, but are not limited to, the Acceptable Use Policy, Computer Use Policy, and Email List Message Policy.
- Anyone seeking to survey 100 or more ONU community members must seek approval from the Office of Institutional Research (OIR) to administer the survey. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications at least one month in advance of the proposed survey launch date. Please allow three business days to receive a response from the date of application submission. The online application form can be accessed by clicking here.
- All surveys must be conducted using the Qualtrics software, which is the official survey tool for the University.
- All conducted research must comply with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- All research conducted on human subjects must seek Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.
- For approved survey proposals, unless approval is granted to distribute the survey via University-wide email lists (refer to the Email List Message Policy), OIR will provide the list of email addresses required for the survey. Unless there are compelling reasons to employ a census, the list should be produced using a randomly drawn sample that will be agreed upon between OIR and the principal investigator to yield statistically significant results. Note that no other office may provide this list of email addresses without the consent of OIR. The email list should not be redistributed or used for any other purposes without authorization of OIR.
- All surveys involving alumni populations must be thoroughly vetted with the offices of Alumni Relations and Institutional Research to ensure that the survey does not conflict with activities related to alumni outreach.
What types of surveys are included in this policy?
For the purpose of this policy, a survey is defined as the gathering of information through questionnaires, either electronically or in person. This policy does not apply to:
- Teaching-evaluation forms
- Faculty wishing to survey students in their respective classes
- Individual faculty research
- Surveys conducted by University staff to either help improve existing services and programs or help develop new programs and services for students, staff or alumni
- Surveys that involve small (less than 100 participants), specific sampling
- Surveys that are part of assigned work for a course or degree requirements
OIR will review the survey requests based on the following primary criteria:
- Is the purpose of the survey clear, and is it explained to the prospective participants?
- Is there other data available that will allow the survey to be avoided?
- Can the data needs be combined with other surveys planned?
- What is the optimal timing to ensure it does not interfere with other University surveys?
- Is the survey well-designed and of an appropriate length? Does it follow sound survey methods and practices? Are the questions easily understood and interpreted?
- Will the results be reported and stored in a manner to ensure the confidentiality of respondents?
- Has the IRB approved the project, if required?
- Has the survey been approved by the appropriate stakeholders involved (e.g., dean, department chair, VP, Alumni Relations, etc.)
Collecting and Storing Data
Survey administrators must store data securely and use data only for the designated and intended purposes. Data containing participant names, identifying information, email addresses or other confidential information must be saved in an encrypted format on computers or drives that belong to the University, and this data should be disposed off when the survey is completed. This data must not be stored on computers or servers outside the University.
Survey Approval Form
In order to have your survey approved, you must complete the survey approval form at the link below. The form should not take much time and will help improve the quality of surveys. Once submitted, your form will be reviewed, and you will be contacted by a member of Institutional Research within three business days. Access the form here.
Once approved, all surveys will be automatically added to the survey calendar (linked below) and visible on the Institutional Research website. (You can also add the calendar to your own account.) Please note that the survey calendar is populated by the survey title, survey description, name and email fields from the survey approval form. The survey calendar can be accessed here.
The Office of Institutional Research is available to assist individuals or groups in developing survey proposals for review and approval, as well as help with any questions related to the Qualtrics survey tool. Please contact Josh Deans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-772-2125.