Revising Your Insert (or creating a brand new one)
In reviewing your current insert, or in thinking about using an insert for the first time, you should think about your planning and assessment needs. A college/department/program insert along with the questions on the campus-wide Graduating Senior or Alumni Survey can provide you with valuable information to use in planning, for your accreditation and program review, etc. Having ISA administer an insert designed to collect the information you need can save you time and money in trying to collect such data on your own, as well as help to minimize the ‘over-surveying’ of our students and alumni.
Important: Be attentive to the population for any given survey, that is, the group of alumni or seniors who are going to be asked to participate in it. Make sure your questions are relevant to them. For example, you might have a new program that did not exist when the alumni in the survey population graduated. You would not need an insert and/or any questions about that program for those alumni. Similarly, if you no longer have seniors graduating in a particular program, you should drop any questions/inserts related to that program.
What does ISA do?
The ISA survey staff will be happy to help you develop an entirely new insert and/or evaluate and revise your current one. When we have the final draft we will prepare your insert for administration online. ISA will identify the appropriate survey population, and send all invitations and follow-up reminders to non-respondents. (For the Graduating Senior Survey we also provide regularly updated lists of respondents and nonrespondents on our secure website to enable departments to follow-up with their students as they see fit.) After the survey closes we clean and analyze the data, prepare reports on results, and then distribute the reports, data, and all necessary documentation to your college/department.
What information does ISA need to create an insert?
All we need are the questions and response options along with any specific instructions for students. Don’t worry about trying to make the copy of the insert you give us look pretty. Also, tell us who you want to answer your insert, e.g., all students in your college, in your department, in a specific program, etc.
How many questions can be on an insert?
While there are no real limits to the number of questions you can include in a given insert, please remember that respondents are more likely to simply stop answering the questions and/or go to the next insert if yours gets too long. I would suggest keeping your insert to under 30 questions. You are welcome to have both forced-choice and open-ended questions. In general it is not a good idea to use your insert to have respondents evaluate a long list of courses in the major.
Are there any limits on the types of response options that can be used?
No, you are not restricted to any particular type of response (e.g., you don’t have to use a ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’ response scale). You should use whatever is appropriate for the question to get the information you need. Again, we can help!
Can respondents complete more than one insert?
Yes. For example, double majors are are asked to complete an insert for each of their majors (assuming that both majors have asked us to administer an insert for them). In addition, respondents could have an insert for their college and then for their department. There can also be inserts for specific academic programs.
For more information on students/alumni surveys, please contact
Dr. Nancy Whelchel
Director for Survey Research
Institutional Strategy and Analysis
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 7002
Raleigh, NC 27695-7002