Portland State University has established procedures and guidelines for members of the University community who wish to conduct surveys, either online or in paper format. These have been established to help to reduce survey fatigue, ensure the quality and usefulness of findings, and improve response rates. They apply to faculty, staff, students and administrators who wish to conduct surveys for institutional purposes, research projects, theses and dissertations, and class assignments, if those surveys 1) use University consulting or technical services, and 2) are sent to employees or students. Surveys conducted on populations outside the University and those that do not use mass emails, campus mail or hand delivery outside of a classroom or work unit, as well as those intended to collect participation information for events, are not covered by this policy.
The first step in deciding to conduct survey research at Portland State is to go to the Survey Research Website: https://sites.google.com/a/pdx.edu/surveyguidlines/. The site contains information on how to conduct surveys, including the approval checklist, resources on survey research methods, and tips for alternative data collection techniques.
A second step is to contact the Research Integrity Coordinator at 503-725-4288 to determine whether or not the survey is required to follow the Human Subjects Research Review Committee’s procedures. This step must be followed, whether or not the survey is considered academic research, or if there is a plan to publish or present the results outside of Portland State. (Note that surveys conducted on populations outside of Portland State also must follow this step.)
Those conducting research on students should be aware that some student information falls under federal student records laws called Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For information, please see the FERPA Facts website: http://www.pdx.edu/dos/ferpa-facts.
The approval checklist must be completed and submitted to Institutional Research before a survey project can proceed: www.oirp.pdx.edu/Survey_Approval_Form. Notification of approval will be provided within 10 days of submission, via email. Individuals who contact University offices--such as Information Technologies (IT), Institutional Research and Planning (OIRP), University Communications (UComm), Research and Strategic Partnerships (RSP), or Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (EMSA)--for help with a survey project will be referred to the survey website.
Use of the University’s Mass Email Tool to promote or distribute a survey to Portland State faculty and or staff is limited to official surveys approved by the Office of University Communications. Use of Portland State emails for survey distribution must be approved according to the procedures described on the checklist.
OIRP provides online survey development, administration and analysis for surveys conducted by University employees. (Fees may apply: contact the office, 503-725-3432, for information.) OIRP does not provide these services for student class projects, or for thesis or dissertation research. Upon approval by EMSA, OIRP may assist recognized student groups with survey development and administration.