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Survey Standards and Approval

Student Survey Standards

  1. Importance: The overall importance of the survey. Does it provide useful information for academic planning purposes? Does it provide useful feedback to those providing services to students? Does it provide the University with useful information on the experience of students at Northwestern? Is the survey of national importance? Are other peer institutions conducting the survey, and will peer data be available. 
  2. Dissemination and Use of Information Collected: Who will have access to the information collected and how will they use it? Will it be presented to the President, Provost, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Directors, and other line managers who might be better informed in making decisions related to students as a result? 
  3. Content and Design of Survey: Is the survey designed well? Is the content appropriate? Does it follow sound survey methods and practices? Is it of appropriate length? Are the questions easily understood and interpreted?
  4. Population and Sampling Methodology: What is the target population? Will the entire population be surveyed, or a sample? If the latter, what is the sampling methodology and is it sound? If the former, is a sample an option that should be considered to lessen the burden on students? 
  5. Timing: When will the survey be conducted? Does it overlap with other student surveys? Is it conducted at a time during the academic year when students are likely to respond? 
  6. Overall Impact: What will be the impact of the study? Will the study negatively impact the University? Does the survey overburden students? Does the survey divert important University resources away from other more important projects? 
  7. Resources: What resources at NU will be needed in order to conduct the survey? For example, the creation of mailing databases, designing samples, designing the survey instrument, piloting the survey, designing a Web application for the survey, conducting a mail or phone survey, data entry and coding, etc.


Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is designated by Northwestern University (NU) to review, to approve the initiation of, and to conduct periodic review of research involving human subjects or materials obtained from human subjects. Federal law and/or NU policy mandates prior written and dated IRB approval of all such research regardless of the funding source. The Institution's Federalwide Assurance Identification number as filed with the Department of Health and Human Services is FWA 0000-1549.