APB supports the use of data in decision-making and policy discussions at the University. We oversee and conduct surveys of institutional relevance that target broad segments of the McGill community, including prospective and enroled students, alumni, staff, and faculty.

Survey management: To survey saturation and maximize the use of University resources, APB is responsible to coordinate survey efforts. We can advise whether institutional data is available to answer your question(s), and if not, when is the optimal time to administer your survey.

Requests: Support for surveys within the scope of the APB Survey Policy must be made to richard.martin [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Survey%20Request) (Dr. Richard Martin), Executive Director of Analysis, Planning, and Budget. Please fill out and submit the survey proposal form found here.

Student survey projects require approval from Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning). Parties interested in surveying students should contact secretary.dpsll [at] mcgill.ca (subject: My%20student%20survey%20project%20requires%20approval%20from%20the%20Deputy%20Provost) (the Office of Student Life and Learning).

APB Survey Policy

The purpose of this policy is to maximize the benefits of our institutional surveys by centralizing survey efforts for quality assurance. The policy aims to increase response rates and reduce survey fatigue and unnecessary survey proliferation by:

  • Avoiding the collection of duplicate information by leveraging existing data
  • Coordinating the timing of surveys
  • Thoughtfully selecting samples of the population to be surveyed
  • Promoting survey best practices to ensure the collection of quality data

APB exclusively supports surveys of institutional relevance, sponsored by senior administrators, from which results are used to support decision-making, policy creation, and other strategic initiatives at the University.

Surveys not supported by APB

  • Academic research conducted by faculty or students
  • Non-academic research conducted by faculty or students
  • Course evaluations
  • In-class polling
  • Certain surveys specific to Student Services

Surveys that fall under the scope of the APB Survey Policy are subject to an exemption to the ethics approval process, found in Article 2.5 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical conduct for Research Involving Humans. That being said, APB follows conventional guidelines to ensure that it adheres to professional standards for the administration and use of surveys. All institutional surveys are voluntary, meaning that participants may choose to answer the survey or not, may skip over questions they do not wish to answer, and are free to leave the survey at any time.

Surveys are either confidential or anonymous.

Confidential surveys

  • Record or have the ability to link to information that could be used to identify an individual (e.g., email addresses, names, or IDs, etc.); this identifying information is not shared with anyone outside APB and is never included in any reported results.
  • Give us the ability to control who can answer the surveys using unique survey links.
  • Allow for shorter surveys as certain demographic information can be appended using other sources of data instead of directly asking respondents.
  • Allow sample representativeness to be determined (i.e., the extent to which respondents are representative of the larger population).
  • Allow us to target reminders only to non-responders, and give us the ability to remove an invitee who wishes to receive no further invitations or reminders.

Anonymous surveys

  • Do not collect or link to any identifying information (e.g., email addresses, names, IDs, IP addresses, etc.).
  • As a consequence, do not allow us to control who can fill out the survey (a general link can be shared beyond the intended audience), nor do they allow us to ensure that it is not filled out multiple times by the same respondent.
  • As a consequence, do not allow us to gauge the extent to which those who responded are representative of the larger population.
  • May be more appropriate when the survey deals with a very sensitive topic where complete anonymity is believed to lead to more candid responses.

Care is always taken when reporting results such that an identity cannot be inferred from contextual information. This is achieved by maintaining a standard for minimum cell sizes (i.e., only reporting results for groups larger than five) and redacting any potentially identifying information from open-ended comments.

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