/ Frost Center for Data and Research

Internal Surveys

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: 

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.