Student Survey - Procedures

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Student Survey - Procedures

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Approval authority
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Designated officer
Director, Strategic Information and Analysis Unit
Last amended
8 January 2016
Effective start date
20 April 2012
Review date
20 April 2017
Status
Active
Related documents
Student Survey - Managerial Policy
1. Definitions

In this Procedure the following definitions apply:

Agent: means a person or organisation acting on behalf of the University.

Data Custodian: means the Director, or nominee, of the organisational unit responsible for the capture and maintenance of student records.

Implement/implementation: means the release and conduct of a survey of students.

Non-official survey: means a survey other than an official survey.

Official survey: means a survey which has been mandated by the University Executive, State or Federal authorities or a survey that is centrally implemented by the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit.

Protected period: means a time frame during which the implementation of non-official surveys may be restricted.

Staff: means a person who is employed by the University.

Standing application: means an application for approval to implement a particular survey on more than one occurrence.

Student: means a person who has at any time, been admitted to or enrolled in, a program (including any English Language Program or Transition Pathway) or course offered by the University.

Survey: means a process of collecting information from or about persons using methods such as interviews, focus groups, electronic or paper questionnaires. Excluded from this definition is the collection of information using methods requiring participant trial, assessment or experimentation, ad-hoc in-class surveys or ongoing polls of general student opinion.

Survey Manager: means the person who is responsible for the implementation of the survey. Students undertaking research should confirm with their research supervisor who will perform the role of Survey Manager.

2. Principles of student surveys

2.1. A survey initiated from within the University should exhibit the basic principles and methodologies of sound survey design including:

a) a clear focus or aim;

b) methodological design that:

i) demonstrates that the survey will provide certainty regarding the reliability and accuracy of the survey data and findings;

ii) is capable of generating judgements, decisions and outcomes based on evidence, and;
iii) is not overly complicated or onerous for students to complete;

c) clear information for the potential respondents regarding:

i) the purpose of the survey, including the intended use of the information collected;
ii) information on privacy matters such as the persons or bodies who will have access to, or who may be provided with, the information collected;

iii) the means by which respondents will be able to access a summary of findings from the survey;

iv) the means by which the respondents and University community will be advised of any improvements or outcomes made as a consequence of the survey findings, and;

v) the terms and conditions associated with any incentive prizes offered by the University.

3. Research ethics requirements

3.1. The Survey Manager is responsible for obtaining ethics approval for a survey of students, if appropriate. The Office of Research publishes research ethics reference materials on the Staff Intranet MyUSC . Refer in particular to the Guideline addressing whether a survey needs ethical clearance.

3.2. Where needed, an application for research ethics approval should be sought in parallel to submitting an application for approval to survey students to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit.

3.3. The University requires a copy of any external research ethics approval (if applicable) for surveys initiated external to the University.

4. Intellectual property matters

4.1. Materials published by the Office of Research should be referenced on matters pertaining to intellectual property in respect of data and information gathered via student surveys. These materials are available on the Staff Intranet MyUSC.

5. Application for approval to survey students

5.1. With the exception of Section 5.7, an application for approval to survey students must be made to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit regardless of whether the survey is initiated from within or external to the University.

5.2. All applications for approval to survey students must be submitted to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit using the Application for Approval to Survey Students form available on the Staff Intranet MyUSC.

5.3. Applications for approval to survey students must either be emailed to studentsurvey@usc.edu.au or delivered to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit at least ten (10) working days prior to the desired implementation date.

5.4. When making application for approval to survey students, applicants are advised to reference the Schedule of Approved Student Surveys located on the Staff Intranet MyUSC. The Strategic Information and Analysis Unit will reference this Schedule to inform its consideration of the approval of and any conditions to be placed on a survey of students.

5.5. Standing applications may be approved in cases where: the survey is mandated by the University Executive, State or Federal authorities; where survey non-participation will affect the University’s reputation, eligibility for funding or compliance, or; in cases where an applicant can show cause of a need for a recurrent survey. Approval for standing applications is for a one (1) year period after which another standing application will be required.

5.6. Requests for a standing application for approval to survey students are made using the Application for Approval to Survey Students form available on the Staff Intranet MyUSC.

5.7. Surveys mandated by the University Executive, State or Federal authorities, are exempt from the application for approval process. Intention to implement surveys of this nature must be notified to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit for the purpose of maintaining the Register of Approved Student Surveys and the Schedule of Approved Student Surveys. Notification should be made as soon as possible once implementation dates of the survey are known. The Notice of Intention to Implement a Student Survey form available on the Staff Intranet MyUSC should be completed and submitted to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit by email via studentsurvey@usc.edu.au or delivered to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit.

6. Consideration of an application for approval to survey students

6.1. The Strategic Information and Analysis Unit may verify that an application for any necessary ethics approvals has been submitted to the Office of Research.

6.2. In the case of surveys intended to inform institutional strategic planning, quality assurance or improvement the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit may:


a) set conditions regarding the time frame for implementation to reduce the frequency and proximity of surveys of the same or similar survey target population
;
b) discuss with the Survey Manager opportunities for incorporating the survey items within another official survey, and/or;

c) provide advice regarding similar surveys that have been implemented which may serve the purpose of further investigations.

6.3. Automatic approval for the implementation of a student survey will be granted by the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit in cases where research ethics approval has been obtained from the Office of Research, but may be subject to the condition specified in Section 6.4.

6.4. In all cases, where the survey target population is the same or similar to official surveys being conducted during the protected periods published in the Schedule of Approved Student Surveys, non-official student surveys will be restricted from implementation during these periods.

6.5. The Office of Research will be advised of any conditions imposed on surveys for which ethics approval has been granted or is under consideration.

6.6. In considering an application for approval to survey students the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit may make recommendations to the Survey Manager to assure or improve the quality of student surveys.

7. Notification of the outcome of an application for approval to survey students

7.1. The Strategic Information and Analysis Unit will advise the Survey Manager via email as soon as practicable following submission of an application for approval to implement a student survey whether the application has been approved and any conditions on implementation that may apply.

7.2. In the case of a student survey being approved for implementation a Notice of Approval to Implement a Student Survey will be issued to the Survey Manager. In the case of a student survey not being approved for implementation a Notice of Non-approval to Implement a Student Survey will be issued to the Survey Manager.

7.3. Following approval to implement a student survey, the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit will record the survey on the Register of Approved Student Surveys and the Schedule of Approved Student Surveys located on the Staff Intranet MyUSC.

7.4. Notification of approval to implement a student survey from the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit neither guarantees the approval of research ethics clearance nor replaces the need for research ethics requirements to be considered as detailed in Section 3.

8. Alterations to the timeframe or scope of approved surveys of students

8.1. Any change to the anticipated survey implementation timeframe, size or type of the survey target population of an approved survey of students must be advised to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit via studentsurvey@usc.edu.au as soon as known and may result in conditions being placed on the survey as specified in Section 6.4.

9. Accessing student data

9.1. Where access to student data is required for the purpose of implementing a student survey, application must be made to the appropriate Data Custodian as detailed in Section 9.2 of this procedure. Approval to implement a student survey as provided by the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit must accompany any request for access to student data.

9.2. The Student Data Custodian is the Director, Student Services and Engagement, or designate.

9.3. Approval for access to student data rests with the Student Data Custodian.

10. Implementation of student surveys

10.1. A student survey may be implemented only where:

a) the implementation of the survey has been approved in advance by the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit, and;

b) any conditions associated with the implementation time frame have been met.

10.2. The University has a limited number of Opinio survey software licences for use by staff and higher degree by research candidates for implementing online surveys. Applicants must indicate their desire to use Opinio on the Application for Approval to Survey Students form. Survey Managers may choose to use other online survey software.

10.3. Opinio licences are not perpetual, but relate to the specific survey for which a licence is requested. The duration of access to Opinio will be determined based on information provided on the Application for Approval to Survey Students form.

10.4. Provision of access to Opinio neither guarantees the approval of research ethics clearance nor replaces the need for research ethics requirements to be considered as detailed in Section 3.

10.5. In cases where the University is invited, or is required, to participate in a student survey coordinated by an external organisation and flexibility exists in the implementation timeframe, implementation will be guided by consideration of the impact on participants and other surveys.

11. Incentive prizes

11.1. Prize Terms and Conditions must accompany any survey conducted by staff where an incentive or other prize is offered for participating in the survey. Templates to assist staff in developing survey prize terms and conditions are available on the Staff Intranet MyUSC.

11.2. Students offering an incentive prize to promote participation in a survey should refer to guidelines on complying with the Charitable and Non Profit Gaming Act 1999 at https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/charitable-and-non-profit-gaming-forms-and-resources

12. Access to surveys, data and findings

12.1. The Strategic Information and Analysis Unit may seek access from the Survey Manager to a copy of the instrument, data or findings of surveys administered for institutional strategic planning, quality assurance or improvement purposes to enable the triangulation of student perceptions and efficiencies in survey development.

13. Reporting on student surveys

13.1. The Strategic Information and Analysis Unit will maintain the Register of Approved Student Surveys and the Schedule of Approved Student Surveys which will provide an overview of student surveys in the field at any point in time.

13.2. The Strategic Information and Analysis Unit will provide a summary of surveys implemented under this policy at least annually to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

14. Responsibilities

14.1. In all cases, the Survey Manager is responsible for:


a)
adhering to the basic principles and methodologies of sound survey design as outlined in Section 2.1;

b) ascertaining whether ethics approval is required and, if so, making application for such;

c) ensuring storage of survey target population data and respondents is sufficiently secure to restrict access to people as nominated by the Survey Manager;

d) protecting the privacy of students’ personal information;

e) ensuring confidentiality in the use of survey target population data and survey responses;

f) ensuring anonymity in the reporting of data except as expressly agreed to by respondents;

g) addressing any queries, concerns or complaints from the survey population and in accordance with any ethics approval granted;

h) ensuring survey target population data is not disclosed to third parties, and;

i) publishing outcomes of findings as appropriate.

14.2. The Strategic Information and Analysis Unit will monitor the implementation of student surveys and advise the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of any apparent instances of non-compliance with the Student Survey – Managerial Policy and this associated Procedure.

14.3. The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and associated procedures.

14.4. The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will review cases of complaint where approval to implement a student survey has not been granted by the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit or there is dispute regarding the conditions placed on the implementation of a survey. The decision of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be final.

14.5. The Strategic Information and Analysis Unit will monitor and review the Student Survey – Managerial Policy and this associated Procedure in accordance with the University’s requirements.

END

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