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Institutional Research

Web-Based Survey Policy


The purpose of this policy is to inform campus users about the application and to prevent the misuse and overuse of web-based surveys.

The policy defines who may request surveys, describes the scheduling of surveys, and outlines relevant practices regarding the rights of human subjects in research.

Policy Statement

  • EMU administrative offices, academic departments, and student organizations (users) may request web-based surveys for research or assessment activities designed to improve programs and services on campus.
  • In the gatekeeper role, IR will assist users in designing and developing surveys, drawing samples from populations of interest as necessary, ensuring appropriate follow-up to improve response rates, and managing the schedule of web-based surveys to avoid over-surveying specific populations.
  • Scheduling availability may be limited at certain times during the year in order to prevent over-surveying a specific population. In general, IR strives to maintain a calendar in which no person is surveyed more than once in any given 15-day period. Surveys are generally made available for 10 days.
  • Since the purpose of these surveys is program evaluation, IR encourages users to consider how the data will be used to improve programs and services on campus and to document those improvements.
  • The following practices regarding human subjects research will be followed:
    • Institutional Review Board approval is not required for program evaluation research. However, if survey responses are not anonymous, participants will be notified of the purpose of the research and that participation is voluntary; in addition, steps the user will take to ensure confidentiality must be explained to participants.
    • If identifiers will be used to merge survey data with information in university databases, participants will be informed what additional information will be collected.
    • If data from student records are used in program evaluation research, all requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) must be met. Non-public student data may be used without the student’s consent by university employees for “legitimate educational” purposes provided the data are not reported in such a way that individual students can be identified. All other users must receive written consent from the student(s) to access non-public student data.

Approved by Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, February 9, 2016