How to Request Population Samples

Management of samples for campus surveys and focus group research

The Office of Strategic Planning & Institutional Research (OSPIR) can provide random samples of Notre Dame students, faculty, and staff in support of assessment-related survey research. If a survey or focus group project requires access to a cross-departmental population of students, faculty, or staff, administrative units and student groups can submit requests for random samples. Requests involving off-campus populations (e.g., alumni) should be submitted to Development.

We encourage interested units to plan and discuss such requests with OSPIR in advance to ensure that their proposed timing does not conflict with other survey activities on campus and their desired population is available. Our students, faculty, and staff are daily exposed to many solicitations to complete web surveys, and numbers of such requests have been growing with proliferation of web survey software. As a result, response rates have been declining on our campus, as well as nation-wide, which has a negative effect on data quality. Through managing samples, OSPIR is striving to balance the need for administrative survey studies with an understanding that our population and time available for survey completion are finite resources and have to be treated with respect.

OSPIR maintains a log of population sample requests. If we receive an assessment-related study request that is similar in nature to a recently conducted study, OSPIR will inform the units involved so they could explore data sharing options. For detailed policies on data sharing please consult Access to Survey Data.

Providing a sample does not constitute OSPIR’s sponsorship or endorsement of the project.

In order to generate samples and provide email addresses for survey and focus group studies, OSPIR requires the following:

  1. Description of the purpose of the study, target population, proposed timing, and administration method (web-based, paper, face-to-face, etc.)
  2. Copy of the survey instrument or focus group discussion plan
  3. Survey/focus group approvals as described in the Approvals section.

As a general rule, it will take OSPIR up to two weeks from the time of approval to produce a simple random sample. Complex stratified samples may take longer as OSPIR capacity permits.

To request a sample please contact Tatiana Combs at (574) 631-3549 or email.