UNC has seen an increase in the use of surveys for institutional planning, assessment, and program evaluation. In addition to institutional surveys, individuals frequently seek to survey UNC students and employees for research purposes. Although surveys can be an efficient and effective method of collecting information, overuse of surveys contributes to lower response rates, which can affect the usefulness of each survey. Institutional survey guidelines were created as part of a centralized survey application system to ensure students and employees are not over-surveyed.
UNC's institutional survey guidelines apply to any UNC student or employee seeking to survey 200 or more UNC students, employees, or alumni. The guidelines also apply to individuals or organizations outside of UNC who wish to survey UNC constituents. If you are unsure about whether the guidelines apply to your survey, view the decision-tree.
- FAQs regarding Institutional Survey Guidelines
- Institutional Survey Guidelines
- Application for Conducting a Survey at UNC
Recommendations for Surveying UNC Constituents
UNC has purchased a site license for Qualtrics (a popular online survey software program). With this license, UNC faculty, staff, and supervised students may sign up for a free account with premium features (e.g., UNC branding, greater flexibility, and more tools) that are not available with a standard free Qualtrics account. If you have signed up for a standard free Qualtrics account, please contact the technical support center for assistance in linking your account to our license.
Whenever possible, consider limiting the response burden placed on survey respondents. One way to do this is limit survey length and the use of open-ended questions. Individuals are more amenable to completing brief surveys; our research has shown response rates to items within a survey typically drop for open-ended items. In fact, some survey respondents choose to exit the survey when open-ended items are presented. Thus, we recommend limiting the use of open-ended items whenever possible.
The use of incentives (e.g., bear bucks or gift cards) is a great way to increase survey response rates. The use of incentives is subject to University policies and procedures. Please check with the Accounting department before purchasing incentives for your survey.