The Frost Center serves as the on-campus clearing house for survey and focus group research
Hope College Survey & Focus Group Policy
The administration of surveys and focus groups at Hope College has increased significantly in recent years. In response to this growth, the IR Department is implementing a Survey and Focus Group management policy to improve the volume, flow, frequency, quality and validity of this important process. The goal is to improve the coordination of inquiries, which will benefit the entire Hope College community while fostering research and protecting participants.
Due to the demand for information and the increased use of online surveys, survey responses are declining. The number of surveys as well as the survey administration cycle must be monitored in order to prevent survey fatigue.
Survey & Focus Group Requests
The Frost Research Center and the Institutional Research Department are charged with managing all college-wide surveys. We typically conduct three such surveys each semester (such as NSSE) and the data collected is vital for compliance and accreditation efforts. If you would like us to conduct a survey or focus group for your department, or if you would like to conduct one yourself, please submit an application to the Human Subject Review Board. Once approval or exemption is obtained, please complete the Survey/Focus Group Application Form.
Exemptions from this process include:
- Course evaluations
- Faculty evaluations by students (SIR)
- Administrative record collection
- Workshop, event or customer service evaluations or feedback
- Elections such as faculty elections, homecoming court, etc.
- Meeting scheduling polls such as Wizard, Doodle, etc.
- Office, committee, student organization or faculty department internal surveys
- Academic assessment and departmental review activities relating to majors and minors
Policy endorsed by Hope College Administrative Council October 22, 2019
Before Submitting an Application
- Develop a clearly articulated research question
Students conducting course-related projects should clarify these goals with their professors. You can review tips for writing research questions, if needed.
- Check to see if the information already exists
Hope College's Office of Institutional Research houses information including:
Consult with the Frost Research Center about additional data sets not listed.
- Decide if a survey is the best way to collect information
Surveys yield quantitative data, whereas interviews and focus groups provide additional narrative. Consider focus groups or a one-on-one interview as an alternative.
- Consider using other data sources
The following resources may contain the information you need:
- Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, which houses thousands of files containing research data on topics including education, criminal justice, aging, terrorism and substance abuse.
- General Social Survey, which provides data covering many topics from an annual survey of the U.S. population since 1972.
- American FactFinder, which provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. The data in American FactFinder come from several censuses and surveys.
- American National Election Studies, which provides data on public opinion, voting and political participation.
- Develop a quality survey draft
Quality survey drafts include:
- A defined, specific focus to your survey.
- Precise questions. Don't lead or ask more than one thing within a single question. Keep the questions short and simple.
- A developed plan for data analysis and use of results.
To obtain approval for your survey, fill out the application to conduct a survey. In conjunction with the Frost Research Center's application process, survey drafts must be completed and turned in at least two weeks before the survey's launch.
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