Institutional Surveys

The Office of Strategy Management and Institutional Effectiveness conducts institutional surveys such as the Annual Student Opinion Survey, the International Student Exit Survey, as well as other surveys to assist in achieving the University’s objectives. We also consult and assist AUC departments and units in the design, launch, and analysis of their own surveys as they relate to the University’s mission.

DAIR offers an online survey service to AUC faculty and staff members. The DAIR staff will help you create a survey to meet your needs, such as data gathering, program assessment, and review, needs assessment, benchmarking and special project development. In order for us to understand your needs and coordinate your survey with other projects, we ask you to review the survey guidelines prior to filling out the Survey Request Form. Once your completed form has been received and assigned to a member of the DAIR staff, you will be contacted to discuss your request and clarify the specific information you need.

Due to resource limitations, we are not able to offer this service to student groups, and we cannot provide services for dissertation or other personal publication/grant/research purposes. However, our workload permitting, we are available to provide consultation on creating a valid survey instrument.

After reading these survey guidelines, we welcome you to fill out our Survey Request Form, and we will notify you if we can fulfill your request. Additionally, we would like to direct you to additional resources on designing and conducting surveys.  See our webpage, Tips on Survey Development.

We also consult and assist AUC departments and units in the design, launch, and analysis of their own surveys as they relate to the University’s mission. DAIR offers an online survey service to AUC faculty and staff. The DAIR staff will help you create a survey to meet your needs such as data gathering, program assessment, and review, needs assessment, benchmarking and special project development

1. Requesting a Survey

Due to resource limitations, we are not able to offer this service to student groups, and we cannot provide services for dissertation or other personal publication/grant/research purposes. However, our workload permitting, we are available to provide consultation on creating a valid survey instrument. Consultation services are free and open to anyone on campus. After reading the survey guidelines on this page, we welcome you to fill out our Survey Request Form, and we will notify you if we can fulfill your request. Additionally, we would like to direct you to additional resources on designing and conducting surveys. See the tips on survey development.

2. Survey Design

You know best what questions you want to ask on a survey. The survey design process must begin with you taking sufficient time to think about the objectives of the survey and the types of information you want to collect. Some simple thoughts to keep in mind when designing your questions are:

  • IMPORTANT: What is the overall purpose of my survey? Is it customer satisfaction, needs assessment, educational outcomes assessment, or something else?

  • Will the questions I have in mind provide me information that I can act upon?

  • How would I react to the question being asked? Is it offensive or unclear? Can I think of a way somebody could read the question and misinterpret it?

  • Do I want to use close-ended or open-ended question? Close-ended questions often precipitate in a higher response rate, as well as data that are more easily quantified and analyzed.

  • How will the data be reported and analyzed?

Surveys explicitly or implicitly associated with the Office of Data Analytics and Institutional Research (DAIR) by titles, footnotes, or presence on our website, reflect on the reputation of our office. The Office of Data Analytics and Institutional Research reserves the right, in consultation with the survey's sponsor(s), to edit the survey for purposes of brevity, clarity and/or appropriateness. Further, our office reserves the right to refuse any survey or survey data that does not meet with University standards.


3. Piloting the Survey

Prior to distributing any survey, it is recommended that you test the survey by asking a small group to complete the survey and note any uncertainties they have about the meaning of survey items. They may also find formatting, grammar, or spelling errors. This provides one more opportunity to identify and correct misleading questions or other survey problems before distribution.


4. Survey Cover Letter and Incentives

As the client requesting a survey, you should write the cover letter/email message. The message should explain to prospective respondents why they are being surveyed in a concise and friendly manner, and invite them to complete the survey. We can provide you with samples. Our office will insert a standardized paragraph that guarantees the confidentiality of respondents at the bottom of each email.

Incentives, if any, for completing the survey should be mentioned in the original letter/email, as well as in any follow up or reminder messages – for example, cash prizes, gift certificates, or other desirable items can be offered as incentives that will be awarded to one or a number of randomly selected respondents.


5. Survey Timing

The timing of your survey is crucial to the success of the survey. Obviously, you would not want to send out a student survey during spring break or finals week. Our office will work with you in selecting the most appropriate time period to administer your survey.


6. Survey Approval

All research (including interviews, surveys, and questionnaires) involving humans as subjects must be reviewed by the IRB. Provisional approval may be granted by the IRB as needed during the design of a project or preparation of a proposal. Full approval must be sought as soon as feasible and must be obtained before the involvement of human subjects in the project begins.

Please see AUC's research policies for further information.

If your survey will be conducted outside of the AUC community, further approval needs to be sought from Egyptian authorities. Please see CAPMAS Procedures for Conducting Field Research.


7. Survey Distribution and Reminders

When surveys are administered from our office, they will be distributed from the email address, dair@aucegypt.edu, unless otherwise requested. Web surveys are our preferred method since they are inexpensive; they result in a fast response; they minimize data-entry errors; they facilitate email reminders via an authenticated processes; they result in detailed open-ended (e.g. fill-in-the-blank) responses, and they often achieve higher response rates than paper surveys. Reminders will be sent at about one and two weeks after the original distribution. Surveys can often be completed in approximately four weeks from the initial invitation to participate.

8. Analysis

DAIR can provide you with the raw data to complete your own analysis or provide you with an analysis of the data. A brief executive summary along with appropriate tables or charts will be provided if we complete the analysis. Please note that any analysis of the data provided by DAIR will be distributed to you, as well as your supervisor, and other appropriate administrators.


9. Use of Results

We believe that surveying is a poor use of University resources if the results are not used effectively. We encourage you to publicly share information about actions taken as a result of survey research, as we believe that individuals are more likely to respond to future surveys if they see the information they provide is being used.


10. Questions

Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have.

Office of Data Analytics and Institutional Research
The American University in Cairo
Administration Building, Office 1028
P.O. Box 74
New Cairo 11835, Egypt
dair@aucegypt.edu
tel 20.2.2615.2230/2233
fax 20.2.2795.7565

 

All research not originating in DAIR (including interviews, surveys, and questionnaires) involving humans as subjects must be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Provisional approval may be granted by the IRB as needed during the design of a project or preparation of a proposal. Full approval must be sought as soon as feasible and must be obtained before the involvement of human subjects in the project begins.

Please see AUC's research policies for further information.

Additionally, if your survey will be conducted outside of the AUC community, further approval may need to be sought from Egyptian authorities. Please see CAPMAS Procedures for Conducting Field Research.

  • Savings in printing, postage, data entry

  • No data entry errors from hand entry

  • Shortened timeframe to administer surveys (three weeks with web surveys, vs. six or more weeks with paper surveys)

  • Easier to provide skip patterns or survey sections customized to different respondent populations

  • Immediate access to data for analysis

  • Can easily link to background data (i.e. gender, grades, and rank).

  • What is the purpose of the survey, and how will we use the survey data?

  • Who are we surveying?

  • Who are the audiences for the survey results?

  • What kind of support do we need for the survey effort?

  • What survey methodology will we use?

  • What is the project budget? Are funds available to pay incentives to potential respondents?

  • What is the timeframe for this survey project (i.e. administration, time for responses, analysis, etc.)

  • Identify themes that are of importance to the sponsor/department and other internal decision-makers. Obtain early and timely confirmation/approval from the Institutional Review Board

  • Write questions using the assistance of experts (Office of Data Analytics and Institutional Research) to be sure that questions will yield meaningful results that will inform policy setting, changes to programs, etc. Avoid using jargon, shorthand, and technical terms unless you are certain this language will make sense to all survey participants

  • Have other individuals review survey questions to ensure they represent the target audience, and to make certain the survey questions are appropriate for the times and the culture

  • Revise questions as needed. Eliminate redundant or unnecessary words/questions to meet goals for survey length. Surveys with 30 or fewer questions (about 25 to 30 minutes) are most likely to receive a larger response rate

The goal of writing a question is to develop a query that every potential respondent will interpret the same way, be able to respond accurately, and be willing to answer.

Types of Questions

  • Do not be vague – be very specific

  • Use vocabulary appropriate to the audience

  • Avoid objectionable questions/language

  • Avoid hypothetical questions

  • Avoid leading questions

  • Ask only what you need

  • Equal number of positive/negative answer choices (in the appropriate order)

  • Range within answer choices should be concise/tight

  • Primary answer vs. all that apply

  • Limit open-ended questions

  • Don’t over-survey

Questionnaire Design

  • Keep it short, 30 questions is best

  • Instructions should be clear, to the point, and where they need to be

  • Use headings/division titles where appropriate

  • Number questions consecutively and keep answers responses structured similarly

  • Demographics – where to place?

  • Take question order very seriously: general to specific

  • Avoid lots of skipping or go-to questions

  • Open-ended questions should be placed at the end

  • Include status bars or page numbers

  • Print on both sides of the paper (you decide, depending on length)

  • Never landscape page format, always portrait

  • Avoid strange paper folding

  • Consider font type and size

  • Check spelling and grammar


Source: AIR Professional File, No. 102, Winter 2006

 

Below are some of the surveys and evaluations that the Assessment Committee conducts at AUC. Click through the surveys below to learn more about the reports and results.

First-Year Experience Program

LEAD-MEPI Surveys

Communications Surveys

Faculty Housing Survey

Food Services Survey

2 + 2 Survey

Language Exchange Partners Program Survey

IT Help Desk Survey

University Health Survey

Adjunct Faculty Survey

ECAR Study of Faculty and Technology

Faculty Survey

Faculty Research Survey

Staff Survey

                                                                         

Advising process Assessment

CAAP 

ECAR Study of Students and Technology

First Semester Freshman Survey

Graduate Student Exit Survey

International Student Survey

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

New Graduate Student Survey

Your First College Year Survey (YFCY)

Student Opinion Survey

Transportation Survey

Other Surveys