Approved:
25 Jan 2021
Prior Version:
3 Feb 2003
Applicability:
This policy applies to all university personnel, students, and external researchers.
Policy Owner:
Academic Vice President; Assistant to the President, Assessment and Planning
Responsible Office:
Assessment and Planning
Implementing Procedures:
Contents, Related Policies, Applicability

Approved:
25 Jan 2021
Prior Version:
3 Feb 2003
Applicability:
This policy applies to all university personnel, students, and external researchers.
Policy Owner:
Academic Vice President; Assistant to the President, Assessment and Planning
Responsible Office:
Assessment and Planning

Implementing Procedures:
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Surveys Policy

Surveys are tools used to collect, measure, and analyze data from a population being studied and may include the collection of responses through questionnaires and interviews. BYU requires approval of surveys in certain situations to ensure their statistical integrity, alignment with university goals, respect for time and resources, and compliance with relevant laws.


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Approval Requirements

BYU units, faculty, administrators, staff, or students who use information provided by the university to contact potential survey respondents or who conduct surveys on behalf of the university must obtain approval from the university official designated below before initiating a survey.

  • If the survey population consists of students majoring in a particular program or personnel in a particular academic department or college, approval must be obtained from the department chair and college dean or designee. Applicable department chairs and a college dean must also approve surveys involving students or personnel in more than one program or academic department within the college.
  • If the survey population consists of personnel in a particular academic support unit, approval must be obtained from the unit director, dean, or responsible associate or assistant vice president or designee. The applicable unit director, dean, or responsible associate or assistant vice president must also approve surveys involving personnel in more than one unit under their stewardship.
  • If the survey population involves students or personnel in more than one college or academic support unit, approval must be obtained from the applicable department chairs, unit directors, deans, or responsible associate or assistant vice presidents or designees, and from the assistant to the president for assessment and planning or designee.
  • If the survey population consists of a census or random sample of the student body and/or personnel, approval must be obtained from the assistant to the president for assessment and planning or designee. Surveys of this scope will not be approved except in rare circumstances when the survey is closely aligned with BYU’s strategic objectives or priorities and is a well-validated instrument.
  • If the survey population involves a university community group (e.g., alumni, applicants for admission, donors), approval must be obtained from the assistant to the president for assessment and planning or designee.
  • If the survey population includes individuals living outside of the United States, approval must be obtained from the assistant to the president for assessment and planning or designee.

Surveys designed to gather data on issues directly related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or specifically targeting Church members as subjects require approval from the assistant to the president for assessment and planning. Additional approval is required as follows:

  • If the survey population includes members of the Church or other individuals only in the United States, approval must be obtained from the associate academic vice president – research and graduate studies or designee, who will also coordinate final approval from the Church.
  • If the survey population includes members of the Church or other individuals outside of the United States, approval must be obtained from the international vice president or designee, who will also coordinate final approval from the Church.

Researchers who are not BYU students or employees and who desire to use information maintained by the university to contact potential survey respondents must first obtain permission from the assistant to the president for assessment and planning and then must obtain approval from BYU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), if required.

Approval is not required for

  • Surveys designed by faculty and students to collect data during classroom instruction that are not intended for publication or presentation outside of the university
  • Surveys created by students for a class assignment that are distributed through publicly available channels (e.g., public square, social media) following approval from the class instructor
  • Surveys that assess user experience, event experience, or client satisfaction for a specific campus unit

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Approval Criteria

Survey approval from designated university officials will be based on a determination that

  • The information sought serves an important university purpose
  • A survey is an appropriate means of gathering the information
  • The survey is appropriate for the research population
  • The survey meets all legal and ethical requirements consistent with the rights of the potential respondents, including applicable international privacy laws
  • The survey does not duplicate an already administered survey
  • Appropriate sampling is used to minimize the extent of imposition on the university community
  • The potential for survey fatigue is avoided

The university may require data sharing agreements for the use of data resulting from surveys of members of the university community.


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Human Subject Research

In addition to the approval required above, surveys for academic research involving human subjects, whether conducted by university personnel, students, or external researchers, and that meet the federal regulatory definition of human subject research, must be reviewed by BYU’s IRB (see Human Research Protection Policy). Surveys that are administered by the university or campus units for institutional assessment only and that are not shared externally do not require IRB review. University personnel and students who are unsure whether their work constitutes research requiring IRB approval should contact the university’s IRB.


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Unit Identification and Use of BYU Identity Marks

Surveys must clearly state the official name of the originating unit(s), along with contact information that respondents may use should they have questions.

BYU identity marks, including logos, symbols, icons, or graphic marks, may only appear on surveys that

  • have been reviewed and approved by a dean, a director, a responsible associate or assistant vice president, or the assistant to the president for assessment and planning or designee, or
  • have been designed by a specific campus unit to assess user experience, event experience, or client satisfaction.