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Survey Use and Administration

Administrative Procedure 3.906


Surveys are a popular method for gathering information and feedback from a variety of college constituencies – prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty, staff, employers, and community members.  The purpose of this procedure is to provide a coordinated approach to surveying in order to:

  • Ensure that survey design, administration, analysis, and reporting are methodologically sound.
  • Ensure that surveys conducted by the college adhere to high and consistent standards of quality and ethical data collection.
  • Minimize collection of duplicate data and “survey fatigue” by combining data collection needs whenever possible and appropriate, and managing the number and timing of multiple surveys to the same group of respondents.
  • Ensure appropriate distribution and use of survey results.
  • Maintain a thorough and accessible record of survey tools and results.


A survey is defined broadly as data collection in which questions are presented to respondents in paper, oral (e.g., interview or focus group), or electronic (e.g., email or web) format for the purpose of evaluating/assessing programs, functions, or services; or gathering feedback from respondents for decision-making and continuous improvement. Respondents include, but are not limited to students, former students, employees, or community members.


This procedure applies to all surveys conducted by or on behalf of the college, its employees, offices, services, departments, divisions, and programs to aid in decision-making.

The following forms of data collection are EXEMPT from this procedure:

  • Student evaluation of individual courses and instruction.
  • Feedback instruments used in the evaluation of employee performance.
  • Surveys conducted by faculty or workshop leaders as part of instruction with students currently enrolled in their own classes.
  • Systems for electing students, faculty, or staff to leadership positions within the college, its committees, or organizations.
  • Forms used for the sole purpose of application to or registration in college programs, classes, workshops, or events.

>Also exempt from this procedure are surveys conducted as part of an ECC Institutional Review Board (IRB)-reviewed research project. Such research projects are instead reviewed and approved according to Administrative Procedure 3.103 Data Collection Involving People at Elgin Community College.

Policy Statement

Surveys that do not meet at least one of the conditions of exemption above must be reviewed and approved by the ECC Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (PIE) Office prior to implementation. Survey content and a description of respondents/samples for surveys not generated by the PIE Office should be provided to the PIE Office electronically for retention in an archive.

Responsibilities and Procedures

The Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Office will:

  • Provide an electronic form for survey requests and approvals.
  • Provide consultation, as needed/desired, on the development and administration of surveys and analysis of results, including dialog with college offices or committees (e.g., Faculty Senate) with an interest in survey content or reporting.
  • Review and approve survey requests (including requests from researchers external to ECC, such as doctoral students per Administrative Procedure 3.103 Data Collection Involving People at Elgin Community College).
  • Prioritize and schedule surveys based on the needs of the college, such that data collection is timely and conducted in a manner that minimizes survey fatigue for participants, duplication of effort, and disruption to the educational environment.
  • Maintain an archive as noted above.
  • Review the scope and effectiveness of this procedure and associated practices.

Individuals requesting to conduct surveys will:

  • Work with a PIE Office representative to create the survey instrument or submit a draft for review prior to survey administration.
  • Provide the PIE Office with a copy of survey questions and a description of sampling parameters for surveys not generated by the PIE Office.
  • Be responsible for preparation of any mailings of surveys administered on paper as well as the compilation of the data from such surveys, unless otherwise arranged with the PIE Office.