Research by IR Office Staff

The Institutional Research Office staff periodically conducts research for presentations at regional and national institutional research conferences. This page presents some of these results and presentations.


Nonresponse rates on student surveys


College campuses are beehives of opinion surveys that aim to inform institutional decision making on curriculum changes, student experiences, assessment of programs and strategic initiatives, or even students’ food choices or naming the mascot. Even though technology such as Google Forms has made it easier to conduct surveys, we suspect there is not enough attention to who is responding to our surveys and who is not. In other words, response rate issues may lead to non-response bias, meaning that the opinions of those who respond differ from those who do not.  We wanted to learn whether there are differences in response rates between certain subgroups of students who respond to a survey or who do not, such as males or females, minority or non-minority. We conducted a national study on assessing and addressing student non-response in national liberal arts colleges and universities. In this study, we discuss methodological improvements such as post-stratification weighting and best practices such as community engagement to improve the response rate in student surveys. We showcase how such enhancements improved the response rate of a senior survey we recently administered. Our study includes novel approaches and ideas of institutional research professionals, and it is likely to advance one of the profession’s core functions—conducting student surveys. Here is the presentation of our findings at the annual Connecticut Association of Institutional Research (ConnAIR) in May 2023. 

View the presentation (PDF): Assessing Nonresponse on Student Surveys