Muhlenberg College Guide for Administrating a Survey Instrument

Purpose of Campus Wide Survey Instruments

The purpose of this policy is to provide the College with a source for consistent guidance covering internal survey administration.  It aims to minimize the occurrence of survey fatigue, to reduce oversampling of various College constituencies, to increase survey response, and to improve the overall quality and effectiveness of questionnaires distributed in support of College business.  Routine surveys of Muhlenberg students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni provide essential feedback on academic, educational, professional, and similar experiences.  These results are vitally important and carefully considered.  This policy attempts to ensure high quality and sound conduct.

Proposals for campus-wide surveys administered to all members of the Muhlenberg community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) or a subpopulation of the community (first year students, full-time faculty, etc.) should be sent to IR Director, Institutional Research for review, schedule coordination, and approval in order to coordinate survey administration across campus.

Role of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning in Survey Administration

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning provides assistance to researchers to help identify and locate appropriate sources of institutional data that may already be accessible and germane to a research inquiry.  Additionally, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning oversees institution-wide coordination of surveys of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  The data from these surveys offer analytical support for various planning and assessment activities on campus.  A list of the current external and internal instruments used by Muhlenberg College and the survey schedule can be found via the link below:


Surveys targeting an entire population of students, employees, or alumni as participants must be approved in advance, unless they meet one of the following exceptions:

  • Surveys/evaluations sent only to persons who have used a given service or office, or attended a specific program/event AND for which the author already has the email contact AND for which no invitations are sent to non-users or non-participants.
  • Surveys from faculty or staff committees soliciting input from their colleagues.

Submitting surveys for review

The checklist of items to submit when completing an online survey request includes:

  • The Survey Name
  • The Survey Sponsor(s)
  • The objectives of the research
  • The purpose of the research (federal/state requirement, strategic planning, assessment, etc.)
  • A description of the targeted population(s)
  • A final version of the online survey instrument to be used
  • A summary of proposed survey, invitation, and/or reminder timing
  • The proposed text of all e-mail invitations and reminders to be used

Please Note:  Formal review of a request may take up to two weeks once all materials are received.  Researchers looking to conduct surveys should carefully plan their research timelines before making a request.  For further information, please contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning. IR Director, Director of Institutional Research will provide assistance for your request.

Additional Requirements

Once a survey request has been approved, researchers must follow the established Institutional Review Board (IRB) process, as outlined here:

For questions specific to IRB, please contact Dr. Kenneth Michniewicz, Chair of the Board.

Internal Surveys

Muhlenberg College offers an online survey software platform (Qualtrics) to Muhlenberg faculty and administrative staff to support academic and administrative assessment activities.  Qualtrics is purchased by the Office of Information Technology (OIT).  Technical aspects of creating a survey are supported both by Qualtrics support and OIT’s Instructional Technology and Digital Learning (IT/DL) group.  This service allows for the creation, distribution, tracking, and summary of online surveys.  It has the capability to build surveys with several question types (including single choice, multiple choice, yes/no, rating scales, skip logic, open ended).  Survey invitations may be emailed to targeted groups or links may be embedded into websites for completion online.  All data are automatically and conveniently stored in spreadsheet format. 

While IT/DL might assist with Qualtrics account access and may provide orientation to software operation, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning will assist with matters of survey design, question formulation, appropriate sample size, planning survey solicitation, and results analysis.  The launch and administration of surveys will be the responsibility of the researcher or in some cases, the coordinating department or unit.