Terms of Reference

Advisory Committee to Review Requests for Surveys, Focus Groups, and Interviews
Terms of Reference (September 29, 2016)

 

Context

The University of Manitoba strives to provide a future that puts students, faculty, staff, and alumni at the front and centre.  The University endeavours to provide an outstanding educational experience for students, an outstanding learning and working environment for faculty and staff, and an engaging, collaborative connection with alumni. 

As a result, units invested in students, faculty, staff, and alumni are eager for information on these groups, and often want to survey them and conduct focus groups or interviews with them.  Concerns regarding these surveys, focus groups, and interviews arise, such as variable quality in design and of questions; in addition, issues arise when a large number of surveys, focus groups, and interviews with the same people occur simultaneously.  Survey fatigue contributes to low response rates, limiting the usefulness of results.  As surveys, focus groups, and interviews reflect on the University of Manitoba, the quality and timeliness of them is important. 

To address these concerns, an Advisory Committee to the Provost has been established to review proposed surveys, focus groups, and interviews of students, faculty, staff, and alumni to assess quality and evaluate the usefulness and applicability of them in achieving the University’s strategic objectives.  Surveys, focus groups, and interviews conducted for research are reviewed for purposes including quality, timing, adherence to privacy legislation, and storage of/access to data.  Review and approval of the Survey Review Committee is independent of Research Ethics Board review and approval; these reviews can be conducted concurrently.

Surveys, focus groups, and interviews that reflect on the University of Manitoba, including those of current and former students, faculty, staff, and alumni, are subject to review by the Advisory Committee.  A preliminary review by the Coordinator, followed by Committee review, can take up to four weeks.  Generally, the Chair should be notified more than three months in advance of a proposed survey, focus group, or interview if timelines for data collection are not flexible.  Institutional surveys and those strongly supporting the strategic priorities of the university are prioritized.  The Committee also evaluates requests by external agencies to conduct surveys, focus groups, or interviews on University of Manitoba students, faculty, staff, and alumni. 

The Office of Institutional Analysis maintains a schedule of approved surveys, focus groups, and interviews on its Web site, a link to which can be found on the Provost’s Web site. (http://umanitoba.ca/admin/vp_academic/).  The Web site should be consulted prior to the submission of a proposed survey, focus group, or interview.

Membership

Chair Executive Director of Institutional Analysis
Coordinator Research Analyst, Office of Institutional Analysis
Members Access & Privacy Officer
Associate Registrar, Resource Person
Associate Vice-President (Research & International)
Director, or Executive Director, Marketing and Communications Office
Student representatives appointed by UMSU (1) & GSA (1)
Vice-Provost (Integrated Planning and Academic Programs)
Vice-Provost (Graduate Education) & Dean (Graduate Studies)
Vice-Provost (Students)

Function

The Committee will review all proposed surveys, focus groups, and interview questions and assess them based on the following criteria:

  1. Where applicable, relevance to the strategic objectives of the University of Manitoba, in particular to the Strategic Priorities.
  2. Quality of the survey or focus group/interview design, including the adequacy of the sampling methodology, the survey, focus group, or interview questions, and proposed analyses.
  3. Likelihood the results will provide actionable items for the unit and/or the University.
  4. Workload generated for other offices, including, but not limited to, the Office of Institutional Analysis, the Registrar’s Office, and Information Services and Technology.
  5. Appropriateness of the timing of the survey, focus group, or interview, taking into account those already scheduled.
  6. Proposed use of survey, focus group, or interview data, with the implicit understanding data are not to be used for purposes other than specified in the proposal.
  7. Adequate provision made for FIPPA issues and/or review by the appropriate Research Ethics Board.
  8. Proposed storage and destruction of data, including parameters around access to data.

Research design and development of the survey, focus group, and interview questions are the responsibility of the applicant.  The Committee’s role is to provide feedback on the developed materials. 

Committee meetings may be face-to-face or by email, as appropriate.

If Committee consensus cannot be reached, the Chair will submit his or her recommendation to the Provost.  In this circumstance, final approval rests with the Provost.

Subject to approval, the applicant will receive a formal notification specifying a time period for data collection. 

Within two weeks from the end of data collection, applicants are required to advise the Office of Institutional Analysis of the response rate for the survey, focus group, or interview.  Response rates will be posted on the Office of Institutional Analysis’ Web site on the Past Surveys page.  In addition, applicants are required to provide a brief report detailing key findings of the survey or focus group/interview with an emphasis on the changes made as a result of the findings.  Brief reports are to be submitted to the Office of Institutional Analysis within 6 months of data collection.  A compilation of these reports will be provided to Senate and posted on the Office of Institutional Analysis’ Web site.