University Policy


Institutional Surveys

Approval Date: 2023-05-17

Effective Date: 2023-05-17

Review Date: 2027-05-17


The Provost and Vice-President (Academic) through the Director of the Centre for Institutional Analysis and Planning.


To optimize the benefits of Institutional Surveys at the University by ensuring a coordinated and consistent approach.


Institutional Survey activities that engage any broad sampling or census of members of the University community and that involve direct requests to individuals for information.

This policy does not apply to:

  • surveys that involve a research question and require review by a Research Ethics Board (REB), in accordance with the policy Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants.
  • surveys limited to classroom or course activities such as in-class polls (e.g., use of clicker technology) or assigned course work (e.g., survey projects that constitute a course requirement).
  • surveys issued to participants upon their immediate receipt or completion of training sessions/courses, information sessions, professional services or consumer transactions to assess their participation experience.
  • course evaluation questionnaires.


Administrative Purpose — A use of information for the operating functions of the University. This may include activities for assessment, evaluation, quality assurance, management or improvement purposes and any other non-research activities pertaining to how the University and/or its Unit(s) operate.

CIAP — Centre for Institutional Analysis and Planning.

Institutional Survey — A Survey conducted by a University unit or its subsidiaries, or by a third party under the direction of the University, for an Administrative Purpose and directed towards a sample or population of the University. University populations include prospective students, current students, employees, alumni, or other stakeholders. For the purpose of this policy, focus groups, interviews, votes, registration forms, and forms to manage or inventory operational activities and practices are not included in the definition of an Institutional Survey.

ISOC — Institutional Survey Oversight Committee, whose Terms of Reference are here.

Survey — The formal collection of information from a sample or population of individuals regarding a topic, program, service, opinion, or experience.

Unit — Academic or administrative unit, as defined in the University calendar, or any board or other body appointed or elected to carry out University business.

University — Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador


Institutional surveys are centrally coordinated to ensure that:

  • consistent and appropriate survey designs and methodologies are used.
  • privacy protection and information management protocols are followed.
  • efficiencies around resources and information gathering efforts are achieved.
  • survey results are shared and used in an effective manner.
  • the University has an appropriate understanding of the survey demands being placed upon its various populations.

In accordance with its Terms of Reference, CIAP is the University’s principal agent for surveys for students, employees and alumni. CIAP is the initial point of contact for survey requests. The Procedure for Requesting Survey Approval must be followed for all Institutional Surveys. Scheduling of Institutional Surveys occurs on an academic year basis. The Schedule of Institutional Surveys reflects the current and upcoming surveys and is updated as surveys are approved. CIAP maintains the approved Schedule of Institutional Surveys.

ISOC is responsible for the review and approval of survey requests through a standardized process. The guiding principles for the approval of survey requests are:

  • the purpose of the Institutional Survey is consistent with the strategic objectives of the University;
  • the timing, target population, and content of the Institutional Survey do not overlap with previously approved surveys;
  • opportunities for efficiently consolidating surveys are considered;
  • survey administration will follow appropriate and best practices methodologies, including:
    • appropriate content and design of the survey instrument, and
    • use of standard methods and systems as currently recommended by CIAP;
  • the information to be collected by the survey normally cannot be obtained through any other methods or sources;
  • there will be measures in place for the protection, use, retention and disposal of survey

    information, in accordance with University policies including Appropriate Use of Computing Resources, Electronic Data Security, Information Management, and Privacy and their related procedures;

  • the survey does not place an undue burden on students in consideration of their academic commitments;

  • the survey does not interfere with the normal operations of the University.

Student surveys may not be administered during the regularly scheduled examination period of a semester.

Institutional Surveys may not be administered until approval has been granted by ISOC. ISOC may determine that certain regularized Institutional Surveys or survey frameworks require a one-time approval and do not require approval for each subsequent administration. The list of approved, regularized surveys is available here.

Institutional Surveys that are approved by ISOC must be administered according to the Procedure for Administering Institutional Surveys, and the protocols outlined in the Institutional Survey Request Form, incorporating any amendments made by the ISOC as a condition of approval.

Surveys that have not been approved by the ISOC may result in the termination of the survey and destruction of any collected data.

Related Documents

Appropriate Use of Computing Resources policy

Contract Administration policy

Electronic Data Security policy

Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants policy

Information Management policy

Privacy policy

Terms of Reference - ISOC

Institutional Survey Request Form

Privacy Compliance Checklist

Schedule of Institutional Surveys

Research Impacting Indigenous Groups policy

Standards for Survey Methodologies


For inquiries related to this policy:

Centre for Institutional Analysis and Planning General Office at or709-864-4016


Provost and Vice-President (Academic)



Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date: 2016-10-05
Effective Date: 2017-01-01
Policy Amendment History

There are past amendments for this policy:

Date: 2023-06-14 12:38:56
This policy was published as a replacement of a previous version with an ID of 301. Comment provided: Updated
Date: 2023-11-06 10:56:55
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Updated broken link
Date: 2023-11-09 09:26:53
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Correcting broken links Procedure had become unlinked