Roanoke College Survey Policies
After May 1, 2013, anyone planning to administer a survey to Roanoke College students, parents, alumni, faculty, or staff must first obtain survey approval from the Office of Institutional Research. Separate approval or exemption by the Institutional Review Board is also required.
Short Outline of the steps in the approval process effective May 1, 2013:
1. Contact Dr. Jack Steehler in the Office of Institutional Research (204B Admin, 540/375-2540, firstname.lastname@example.org). He will guide you through the needed steps. Making the first contact 14 days before you wish to start the survey is recommended.
2. Read the full policy (below or in the linked PDF). Consult with Dr. Steehler if you have any questions.
3. Submit the survey request form and a copy of your proposed survey to Dr. Steehler. A quick review of your survey to give you suggestions will be the next step.
4. Contact the Institutional Research Board to see if you need their approval. If so, start working on their requirements.
5. Dr. Steehler will coordinate with other campus offices for approvals and to generate any needed contact info list for the survey. Once IRB approval and other approvals are complete, Dr. Steehler will give you the OK to proceed and the contact information list.
6. If you wish to use the college survey software, Dr. Kim Filer and Dr. Steehler will help you to do so.
7. A copy of the results of the survey (the final summary report) should be submitted to the Office of Institutional Research.
This policy for survey approval must be followed starting May 1, 2013.
Survey Policy Approved 2/25/13
Anyone planning to administer a survey to Roanoke College students, parents, alumni, faculty, or staff must first obtain survey approval from the Office of Institutional Research. Separate approval or exemption by the Institutional Review Board is also required. Surveys of external groups not associated with Roanoke College do not need approval by the Office of Institutional Research but must still be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). In addition, people who use student, parent, alumni, faculty, or staff contact information or demographics in a survey project must handle all information and results in accordance with Roanoke College information security policies. Approved surveys must be administered and used strictly as approved, without changes.
This policy applies whenever the survey sponsor wishes to do any of the following:
1. Use names, addresses, e-mail addresses, or phone numbers for a group that includes individuals not directly under his/her normal supervision.
2. Propose to survey a large group of students, parents, alumni, faculty, or staff, either with a paper survey or with an electronic survey.
3. Request information about the demographics of individuals in the survey population. Any such information must be specified and justified in the IRB proposal, and be FERPA compliant.
4. Collect survey data which may be published or used in presentations open to the public.
1. A faculty research survey that includes all faculty, or all staff, or all students.
2. A student research survey for a class that seeks to survey many students outside the class, or seeks to survey faculty, staff, or other groups.
3. Staff supervised local or national surveys of broad groups of students, faculty or staff.
Purpose of this policy
This policy establishes a consistent procedure for managing surveys on campus. Such a policy allows us to use best practices in this area, to benefit both the college and the survey users. Benefits include improved use of existing and new data, better coordination of survey schedules, reduced survey fatigue, improved survey instruments, and more consistent IRB protections.
The sections above were adapted from source (1).
Exclusions from the requirement for approval
Some exclusions from the requirement for review appear below. Note that the exclusions do NOT apply if the results of the survey will be published or will be presented in a presentation open to the public. Surveys which may be used in public presentations and publications must be reviewed, regardless of the exceptions below.
Institutional Research approval is not required for:
a) Evaluations of events by participants.
b) Feedback from customers at the point of service (e.g. bookstore, dining services).
c) Teaching evaluation forms.
d) Surveys of a group of people who fall under the normal supervision of the person doing the survey.
i. Faculty surveying students in their own courses.
ii. Administrators surveying employees they supervise.
iii. Academic administration surveying faculty.
e) Forms used to collect information for administrative purposes (e.g. scheduling, declaration of major, etc.).
f) Surveys for a course in which only students in the course are surveyed.
g) Focus groups or individual interviews. Those activities may still need IRB review and approval.
h) Surveys of prospective students by professional staff for the division of Enrollment Management, which will be reviewed and approved directly by the VP for Enrollment or his/her designee. Those surveys may still need IRB review and approval.
i) Surveys of parents, alumni, or friends of the college by professional staff for the division of Resource Development. Those surveys will be reviewed and approved directly by the VP for Resource Development or his/her designee. Those surveys may still need IRB review and approval.
Requirement for review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Review of a survey project by Institutional Research does not replace the need for all survey projects to be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board. The IRB review ensures that appropriate protections against harming human subjects are in place, and that appropriate privacy and data security protections are used. The right of participants to be appropriately informed prior to participation is also protected.
The IRB may determine that some projects do not need further review (this determination typically takes two working days). Projects that are reviewed further may be handled by an expedited review (about one week) or by a full review (about one month). In all cases, the IRB determination must precede Institutional Research release of participant contact information or the administration of a paper survey. Typically, the IRB review and the latter parts of the Institutional Research review will happen in parallel, during the same time period, to minimize delays.
The contacts for the IRB review are Dr. Marit Berntson in Sociology (302 Trout Hall) or Dr. Ed Hamilton in Academic Grants and Foundation Relations (112 Trout Hall). The web site is:
Survey Approval Process (Institutional Research Office)
Contact person: Dr. Jack Steehler, 204B Admin, 540/375-2540, email@example.com
1. Requests should be initiated at least 14 business days prior to the desired survey launch date to allow for all review steps to be completed. Normally, all aspects of IRB approval and other reviews can be completed in the 14 day period. Some studies may require a longer period if a full review by the Institutional Review Board is needed.
2. For student initiated surveys, a faculty or staff sponsor must serve as a point of contact, in addition to the student. The person requesting the survey approval should complete and submit the Survey Request Form to the Institutional Research Office (see contact info above).
Survey Request Form: http://www.roanoke.edu/IR/PDF-Files/SurveyRequestForm.docx
3. A consultation on the survey instrument will occur early in the process, before the IRB review, to help with the wording, clarity, and style of the questions asked and to maximize the benefits of the survey. The feedback from this consultation will be suggestions, not required changes. This review will also involve checking the master schedule of surveys and adjusting the new survey's schedule if needed to minimize conflicts. Existing data will also be considered to be sure the intended survey data is not already available from another source. The Institutional Research Office will work in concert with the Institutional Effectiveness Office to do this review. Feedback will be provided within 3 working days. Note: this consultation is not intended to affect faculty ability to pursue research questions of their choice, or to change or control survey content.
4. Following the review of the survey instrument design, the person requesting the survey should contact the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to initiate the process of applying for IRB approval. IRB requests must document and justify the information to be included in the contact list provided for the study. Each project must be approved by the IRB (or receive a "needs no review" decision). All IRB materials will be prepared by the person proposing the survey, not by the Institutional Research Office. The IRB decision is prerequisite to the release by the Institutional Research Office of any contact list for use in the survey, and must also precede the use of any paper survey.
5. While the IRB review is underway, the Institutional Research Office will consult with a designated official in the division "owning" the data (e.g. a request for an alumni or parent list will be reviewed by the VP's designee within Resource Development). Approval of that division is prerequisite to the release by the Institutional Research Office of any contact list for use in the survey. Any "do not contact" designations will be respected when constructing contact lists.
6. The actual contact list to be used will be constructed/selected by the Institutional Research Office. In most student projects for coursework that seek to survey students, a representative sampled list of students will be used. Several non-overlapping contact lists would be available and used in rotation for different surveys, reducing survey fatigue. Representative sampled lists will be used in other cases whenever appropriate, but some use of full lists will be needed.
7. Once IRB approval and divisional consultations are complete, appropriate contact lists will be provided within 2 working days after approvals are complete. Final approval for paper surveys will follow the same timeline.
8. A copy of the results of the survey (the final summary report) should be submitted to the Office of Institutional Research, so that others on campus can benefit from the information in the future, when deemed appropriate.
Approval criteria to be used by the Office of Institutional Research
1. The survey must have been approved or exempted by the IRB as part of the review process. The IRB approval number will be recorded.
2. The participant list must have been approved by the appropriate college division.
3. The survey should not run at the same time as another higher priority institutional survey of the same participants. Multiple surveys using different subsets of a population can run simultaneously. Surveys related to coursework often fall in the final month of the semester, and may require some overlapping surveys.
4. The survey will not cause the total number of surveys of the target population in a given year to be excessive.
5. The survey should not seek information that is already available from other sources.
6. Any demographic information requested as part of the survey must be included in the IRB application, and must be in compliance with FERPA regulations. Ms. Leah Russell, Associate Dean and Registrar, is in charge of FERPA compliance.
7. The survey should be sufficiently well-constructed (clear, appropriate questions).
8. If survey software will be used, it must use federally approved data transfer security. College licensed software (RoanokeSurveys.com) is available at no cost to campus users, and is the preferred choice. Contact Dr. Kim Filer, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, for information (firstname.lastname@example.org, 540/375-5249, 204A Admin. Bldg.). The paid version of Survey Monkey may also be used, but the free version may not, due to insufficient security.
9. The creation of the requested contact list information will not exceed available staff time.
10. The survey results will have perceptible benefits to the college or the members of the college community. For college-wide surveys, a copy of the final results report must be provided to the Office of Institutional Research, so results can be used by others on campus when appropriate and when allowed by Institutional Review Board policies.
Portions of this policy were informed by or adapted from:
George Washington University Internal Questionnaire Administration Policy (1)
University of Puget Sound Survey Policy (2)