9-2: Conducting Surveys – Policy

Policy Overview

This policy establishes guidelines and requirements for conducting surveys at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College). The purpose of this policy is to ensure that surveys are designed appropriately, conducted in a manner that provides maximum benefit to campus constituencies while minimizing redundancy and frequency.

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to any person, department, or program wishing to conduct surveys at SFCC. In general, surveys intended for distribution to any members, or prospective members, of the College community must first obtain approval from the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (OPIE).

Policy Statement

Surveys of campus constituents are widely recognized as an important means for collecting information to maintain, improve, and assure educational quality; to enhance institutional effectiveness; and/or to improve student success. All surveys at SFCC must be conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. The purpose of review by OPIE is to ensure that surveys are designed and conducted through best practices in research methodology.


  1. Generalizable Knowledge as defined in US code 45 CFR 46 and the Belmont Report, means knowledge used to draw general conclusions, inform policy, or apply findings beyond a single individual or program, often through publications or presentations.
  2. Institutional Review Board (IRB) is an appropriately constituted group or committee that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical and behavioral research involving human subjects. The purpose of IRB review is to assure, both in advance and by periodic review, that appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights, safety and welfare of humans participating as subjects in the research. In accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, the IRBhas the authority to approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or disapprove research. The board reviews all research involving human subjects to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines.
  3. Exempt review means the activities present no risk to human subjects and do not require review by the IRB. The IRB Chair makes this determination based on federal guidelines.
  4. SFCC Community consists of all those who participate in the learning environment at SFCC, including staff, student, faculty, administration, and the Board.
  5. Survey is defined as the gathering of information from members of the campus community through questionnaires, interviews, etc. to make inferences about a population. Surveys may be administered using paper and pencil, phone, or electronic formats.

Policy Process

  1. Certain surveys may require approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in addition to approval by OPIE. Approval by OPIE to administer a survey is not a substitute for a review by the IRB. If a survey research project is subject to review by the IRB, approval by both OPIE and IRB is required prior to administration. Criteria for the types of surveys requiring IRB approval is indicated in Policy 9-1 Institutional Review Board.
  2. Regardless of the method used, all external entities seeking to conduct surveys with SFCC community must be approved by OPIE before the survey can be administered. All surveys conducted by entities internal to SFCC (except those noted in D. below) will be approved in collaboration with OPIE.
  3. OPIE will review the proposed survey to ensure appropriate question design and survey methodology. OPIE review will also consider frequency and redundancy in relation to other surveys administered at the College.
  4. OPIE approval is not required for:
  • SFCC Faculty-supervised survey research that contributes to students’ academic progress (class assignments) and is not intended to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge;
  • Evaluation of an event by participants;
  • Polls to coordinate meeting times;
  • Feedback from clients at the point of service;
  • Teaching evaluation forms;
  • Survey research that involves fewer than 30 people; however, IRB review may be required (SFCC Institutional Review Board Policy 9-1).
  • Surveys and communications conducted by SFCC shared governance entities for the purpose of gathering input from its constituency group (Policy 1-11 Shared Governance); however, the time frame of when a survey is implemented should be coordinated with OPIE to ensure maximum effectiveness.
  1. Failure to adhere to the policies and guidelines relating to the use of surveys can result in a written notification from OPIE to the survey owners or data collectors, and the supervisor who is responsible for their unit or department.
  2. An employee who violates this policy may be subject to corrective action and disciplinary action in accordance with Policy 4-2 Employee Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action.
  3. Any student who violates this policy may be subject to corrective action or disciplinary action according to Policy 2-2 SFCC Student Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Assistant Vice President for OPIE, shall be responsible for enforcing procedures and policies. OPIE shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention and remediation.


Policy 1-11 Shared Governance

Policy 2-1 Student Code of Conduct

Policy 2-2 SFCC Student Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action

Policy 4-2 Employee Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action

Policy 4-4 SFCC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Policy 9-1 SFCC Institutional Review Board 


SFCC Governing Board approved: 8/23/17