Surveys

Category: Governance
Number: GOV-070-025
Audience: All University employees and external groups
Issued: May 18, 2010
Revised: July 26, 2019
Owner(s): AVP (Teaching and Student Analytics)
Approved by: Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Contact: Survey Committee Coordinator, Office of Resource Planning 306-585-5289

Introduction

The University of Regina participates in a wide array of surveys that are intended to collect data from its students, alumni, faculty and staff for administrative, planning and reporting purposes. These surveys reflect the University's commitment to strengthen the quality and impact of teaching and learning for all students, as well as its focus on institutional sustainability and transparency in order to ensure it is the preferred institution at which to learn, conduct research, teach and work. The survey policy outlined here is intended to provide a coordinated approach to the administration of University surveys in order to maximize their benefits by:

  • Avoiding or minimizing the collection of duplicate information;
  • Ensuring good survey methodology and design,
  • Preventing or minimizing survey fatigue by controlling the number and timing of surveys of any one specific group;
  • Maximizing the response rates for critical university administrative surveys;
  • Ensuring measures are taken to protect respondents' privacy and confidentiality; and
  • Encouraging the communication and sharing of survey results.

Policy

The survey policy applies to all “University Surveys” that involve a broad sampling or census of a population of current and prospective students, alumni, staff and other stakeholders of the University of Regina.  Included in this scope are surveys in which an external organization, researcher or group of researchers proposes to administer a survey to students or other populations of the University of Regina.

Throughout this policy, all references to the University include its federated colleges, namely Luther College, Campion College, and First Nations University of Canada, and to all students of any regional or territorial college who are taking courses from the University.

The Survey Management Committee will assess all proposals to conduct a survey based on the criteria outlined in the Approval process, except for the exemptions listed below, and is responsible for the approval and oversight of all surveys within the scope of this policy. 

The Survey Management Committee is composed of:

  • The AVP, Teaching and Student Analytics (Chair)
  • A Senior Research Analyst / Survey Specialist - Resource Planning
  • The Chair of the Research Ethics Board, or a designate
  • Head, Access to Information and Privacy, or a designate
  • A faculty member with survey expertise (2 year term)
  • A Director from Student Affairs

Exemptions

The survey policy does not apply to surveys that are of small scale and focused intent, such as:

  • Surveys sponsored by individual faculty of the University of Regina for the purposes of academic research, except in cases where the surveys are expected to exceed 10% of a source population;
    • e.g., a survey is to be distributed to 45 first year Faculty of Arts students, and the total number of first year students within the Faculty number 695 students; therefore a survey of this size would be exempt.

  • Surveys that are part of assigned work of a course or degree requirements;
  • Surveys or polls conducted by individual academic staff with students enrolled in their subjects or courses as part of internal processes to assess or assure the quality of learning and teaching (e.g., course evaluation questionnaires);
  • Surveys or polls conducted by administrative units to obtain immediate feedback on service provision.
  • Simple feedback or evaluation surveys of an event or service gathered at the point of service;
  • Surveys conducted by labour unions of their members;
  • Experimental or participatory research projects that do not include a survey component.

If you are uncertain if your survey falls within the scope of the policy or is exempt, please complete the Survey Application Form and follow the directions for submission of same. The Survey Coordinator will assist with determining exemption status.

Mandatory email lists managed by the University of Regina are used strictly for the purpose of sending out official University communications.  Requests to use a mandatory University email list to invite participants to respond to a survey will normally be denied.

Grand-parented Surveys:

There are a number of large-scale surveys that have previously been implemented, and that continue to be implemented on a routine basis at the University of Regina, and are therefore considered to be approved. They include:

  • Canadian University Survey Consortium (CUSC) student surveys
  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • National College Health Assessment (NCHA)
  • Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS)
  • Statistics Canada’s National Graduate Survey
  • Saskatchewan's Ministry of Advanced Education's Post-Secondary Graduate Survey

Roles and Responsibilities

The Survey Management Committee

The Survey Management Committee will meet on an as-needed basis, conducting the majority of its responsibilities electronically. The mandate of this group is to:

  • Recommend policy and process improvements in the area of surveys.
  • Receive and consider applications for permission to survey populations within the scope of this policy.
  • Refer University Survey applications as required to the Research Ethics Committee and/or the University Secretariat (e.g. regarding Access to Information and Protection of Privacy).
  • Provide survey and research guidance and advice.
  • Maintain a record of the level of surveying imposed on the different constituencies on campus.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Failure to comply with this policy may result in the termination of the survey and/or being excluded from conducting future surveys on campus for a period of time.

Processes

Any group seeking permission to conduct a survey as described in the scope herein should submit a proposal using the prescribed form to the Survey Management Committee.  The Office of Resource Planning is the point of contact for proposal submissions. However, neither Student Affairs nor the Office of Resource Planning will conduct surveys on behalf of any individuals or groups.

The application should include:

  • The source and strategic or research context of the survey, and expected benefits;
  • The issues to be addressed and data to be collected;
  • The population to be surveyed (size and scope);
  • The approach to be used; including the intended method of survey administration (i.e., e-mail, mail or other method); the proposed dates on which the survey will be administered; any anticipated pre- or post- mailings that are intended to encourage participation; and a description of any planned incentives for respondents;
  • The proposed survey software (the University-supported Qualtrics Survey Software is recommended);
  • How the data will be used and results communicated;
  • How the data will be stored, who will have access, and how the data will disposed of;
  • The approximate or proposed date the survey is to be administered;
  • An executed Data Sharing Agreement, if U of R institutional and/or personal data are to be shared with an external organization;
  • Information describing any field-testing of the proposed survey instrument.

To ensure all of the required information is included in the proposal, please complete the Survey Application Form (322 KB) PDF Icon and submit it to the Survey Management Committee.

A draft of the survey instrument should accompany the application. It is recommended that the instrument be field-tested with a small population before the application is submitted.

Research projects that include a survey component or other human data must be reviewed by the Research Ethics Board (REB). If it is determined the survey requires REB approval, that process will be completed concurrently with the survey application, when possible.

For advice on the content and format of a Data Sharing Agreement, applicants may contact the Survey Committee Coordinator.

Approval

The approval of a survey will be based on the following criteria:

  • Extent to which other surveys supply or could supply the required data.
  • Extent of the survey burden on target groups within the University, and timing of other survey commitments (timeline alterations may be required to avoid conflicts).
  • Extent to which data will be shared.
  • Institutional reporting requirements.
  • Usefulness of the data and its relevance to the University of Regina’s strategic planning and priorities. 
  • The design and content of the survey instrument and proposed survey administration methods.
  • Privacy issues.

Please allow up to four (4) weeks for a response to your request.

Approval of a Survey is for the intended audience and time frame. Proposed changes must be resubmitted to the Survey Management Committee via the Survey Committee Coordinator.

Surveys must include the following information, either in the covering message or the introduction in the survey instrument, the following:

  • “This survey has been approved under the University of Regina’s surveys policy.”
  • The expected length of time to complete the survey;
  • For surveys approved by a Research Ethics Board, either at the University of Regina or another institution, a statement to that effect.
  • A description of the extent to which the privacy and/or identity of respondents will be protected.

Following completion of an approved survey, a short Survey Results Report must be completed and sent to the Survey Committee Coordinator.

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