College Survey Guidelines

Any survey at the College of Charleston that involves requests for information from faculty, staff, students, alumni, applicants, and other constituents should be coordinated through the Office for Institutional Effectiveness to:

  • Align surveys with the College’s strategic plan and priorities.
  • Ensure appropriate survey design.
  • Minimize survey duplication and burden on campus constituencies.
  • Disseminate survey results as appropriate.
  • Comply with government requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need guidelines for survey projects at CofC?

Over the past few years there has been significant growth in the number of surveys used to gather data from and about the College of Charleston’s students, faculty and staff. Survey proliferation raises the concern that their effectiveness will be seriously reduced if the target populations are faced with too many requests. Therefore, collaborative efforts across campus will lead to better quality of data as well as accessibility to data for everyone.

What counts as a College survey?

College surveys include any broad sampling or census of a population at the College of Charleston. This includes all information being gathered via mail, phone, e-mail, Internet, and/or person-to-person.

What does NOT count as a College survey?

College surveys, as referred to in these guidelines, do not include evaluations of an event by participants, evaluation of a service by a client at the point of service, and statutory teaching evaluations.

Why is coordinating survey projects through OIE important to everyone?

It is the goal of OIE to make process improvements in the area of surveys for the entire campus community by decreasing the survey proliferation and survey fatigue experienced among our campus constituencies by: 

  • Partnering with departments to recommend sound survey methodology and design.
  • Maintaining an Institutional Survey Calendar to avoid the collection of duplicate information and reduce possible survey fatigue.
  • Encouraging data sharing across campus to increase accessibility to data and limit redundant surveys.

Should I talk to any other offices on campus about my survey?

Other offices on campus may be of assistance as you plan your survey project:

Office of Research and Grants
The College of Charleston’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) requires College constituents conducting research involving human participants to seek approval for their research project to ensure it is conducted in an ethical manner. It is the responsibility of the researcher to coordinate with the College’s IRB Compliance Coordinator to determine the level of IRB approval needed for a survey/research project.

Office of the Registrar
If your survey requires student data other than what can be found in the College of Charleston Student Directory, the Registrar must be consulted to approve the release of student data. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student education records and access to those records.

If you are unsure where to begin, please contact OIE.

Do you have additional resources that might help?