Policies and Procedures

Review Policy: X.XX Policy on Campus Surveys


Thursday, September 24, 2020


The purpose of this policy is to guide and coordinate the planning, timing, and methodologies for conducting large surveys on campus. 


This policy applies to all external or internal surveys targeting UNI students, faculty, or staff.  This includes all surveys undertaken by university units and departments to solicit input or opinions on issues or programs as well as surveys conducted for academic research purposes by individuals internal or external to UNI.  This policy does not apply to course evaluations or other data collection required by the UNI Faculty Handbook, to balloting (faculty or student body voting for leadership positions, for example), or to employee and applicant feedback surveys. The policy also does not apply to surveys of alumni or other off-campus populations.     

Policy Statement

All electronic surveys, targeting more than 300 faculty, staff, or students at UNI should be published on the UNI University Survey Calendar, hosted by the Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness (OIRE). Survey administrators must consider the timing of the administration of their surveys in order to minimize respondent fatigue and enhance the likelihood of good response rates for all campus surveys.  

All survey research must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), when required.  Individual researchers not affiliated with UNI must contact the IRB for guidance prior to beginning any type of study involving human subjects. 

If individuals and units wish to obtain a sample of student, faculty, or staff email addresses or other data from OIRE, they may request such a sample by visiting their website and following the instructions for submitting the request to OIRE staff. Requests for a sample from OIRE should be submitted at least two (2) weeks prior to the target date for administration and should be accompanied by a copy of or link to the survey as well as other study materials.  Requests for survey distribution to the entire population of faculty, staff, or students at the institution may only receive a subset or stratified sample of that population, depending on the nature and timing of the survey.

Regardless of sample size or methodology, any survey involving a request to OIRE for a university sample as well as any survey request for advertisement in Inside UNI or other official university-wide communication channels (i.e.  Documents produced or published by UR, not including email, departmental social media accounts, etc.) must be reviewed by OIRE prior to administration.  The purpose of the review will be to determine if OIRE is able to provide the sample requested and if basic survey quality requirements have been met.  Basic requirements are that the survey invitation state that participation is voluntary, that study materials do not state or imply an affiliation with the university if it is not, and IRB approval when required.  Survey administrators may also be advised to consult resources for effectively designing and administering surveys, which can be found on the web at the Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness (OIRE) and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP). Such resources include information on ethical considerations, survey design, recruitment, data management, the use of incentives, and various supports and services. 

All surveys administered at this institution, regardless of sample size or methodology, must review and follow all other related university policies, including Policy 14.03 Data Security Policy, Policy 14.04 Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources, and Policy 14.09 University Data Classification.  In addition, all surveys must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

When conducting online surveys, all UNI faculty, staff, and students are strongly advised to collect data under the university-licensed Qualtrics program, in order to ensure the proper storage, ownership, and security of the data being collected.

Approved by:

Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness, 7/13/20

Office of Research & Sponsored Programs, 7/19/20

Office of the Provost, 7/21/20


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Review Policy: X.XX Policy on Campus Surveys