External Surveys

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Distributing a Survey FAQ

How is my hard copy survey printed?

Once you have approved the final survey, Institutional Research will send your hard copy survey to the Print Shop electronically. You are responsible for making arrangements with the Print Shop for printing and payment.

How is my online survey distributed?

IR will send you the link to your survey to be included in your cover letter/email.

Does my survey need IRB approval? Might my survey be in violation of FERPA?

If you think that your survey might need IRB approval, contact Kenneth Thompson, Director of Institutional Research. If you believe that your survey may be violating FERPA regulations, contact the Office of Enrollment Management.

What do I use for a cover letter/email?

The sample cover letter /email below contains all the necessary information. Each survey director should edit this document to fit the particular survey. An example follows:

The (group name) is surveying all (group to be surveyed) regarding (topic of survey). The results of the 5-minute survey will be used to (brief description of use of results).

To access the survey, visit the following site (website from Institutional Research's email). All responses will be confidential. Only summary data will be released.

For more information about the survey, send an email to (name and identifying information of person who will deal with questions regarding survey topic.)

If you cannot access the survey, try cutting and pasting the link into the address bar of your web browser. If you still are unable to access the survey or have other technical questions, send an email to the institutional researcher at University of Mississippi Medical Center (researcher's email name@umc.edu).

Thank you for taking the time to answer this survey.

Who should send the cover letter/email?

The cover letter/email should be sent by someone whom the person who is receiving the survey knows. Very few people will answer surveys from individuals that they do not know.

What should I do if I can't send the survey from someone whose name the person will recognize?

If sending the letter/email and survey from a known person is not possible/advisable, a pre-letter/email should be sent by someone whose name the recipient will recognize. A sample pre-survey letter/email:

On (day), (date), you will receive an email from (person whose name will be in the from box of the email with the questionnaire address). This is an important email. It will ask you to complete a brief survey regarding (topic of survey). This survey is important for you because (what results of survey will be used for; how it benefits the person who completes the questionnaire).

Please be watching for an email from (name) on (day), (date), and fill out the survey as directed.

Thank you for your help.

Should I send my online survey password protected?

The advantage of sending a survey in a password-protected format is that you are able to send follow-up e-mails to non-responders.

The disadvantages to sending a password-protected survey include:

  • Participants are less likely to respond because they feel that their responses can be traced;
  • The process of sending the surveys is more complicated and will take longer.

If I send my online survey password protected, how often and how many follow-up emails should I send?

Usually most people who are going to respond to a survey do so in the first 72 hours. Therefore, following up on a weekly basis until no further responses are received is realistic.