Why was the Survey Review Committee established?

In conducting institutionally-mandated surveys, the Office of Institutional Analysis observed a very low response rate, far below other U15 institutions. In investigating one particular case, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), it was determined that another survey of students at the University of Manitoba had been launched on the date that the NSSE survey responses dropped off sharply. Surveys are an important source of information for many areas in the University. The Survey Review Committee was established to improve response rates by coordinating the timing, and ensuring the quality, of future surveys.


How is the Survey Review Committee different from the Research Ethics Board (REB)?

The focus of the Survey Review Committee is different from that of the REB.  The Survey Review Committee is concerned with, for example 

  • ensuring the REB-approved content of survey/interview/focus group questions, potential responses,     invitations to participate, and reminder messages are clear, concise, and free of grammatical errors
  • data storage (location and access rights)
  • avenues for survey distribution, or interview/focus group recruitment
  • timing of surveys, interviews, and focus groups to limit survey fatigue

The REBs are guided by three core principles (respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice). They focus on ethical issues, such as

  • is the researcher in a position of power?
  • is there deception?
  • what are the risks to participants?
  • is consent to participate free, voluntary, and well informed?

The Survey Review Committee and the REB work collaboratively to strengthen surveys, interviews, and focus groups.