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Surveys & the Survey Framework

The University undertakes or participates in numerous surveys involving its students, staff and alumni, as well as community and employer groups. The University acknowledges the importance of evidence-based decision making that is assisted through the collection and analysis of survey data. However, there are a number of significant issues that arise in undertaking survey activity that are important to acknowledge, address and manage through an appropriate framework.

The Survey Framework has been established to ensure that surveys conducted in the name of the University of Adelaide:

  • are of a consistently high standard
  • do not duplicate data collection conducted through other University surveys
  • do not compromise population samples through the overlap of surveys
  • do not over-survey the University's core stakeholders, and
  • are disseminated and utilised appropriately.

Adherence to this framework will ensure that the University will be provided with robust data and analysis for its quality assurance, benchmarking and continuous improvement purposes.

A Survey Approval Process has been created to assist with the approval of surveys. Learning and Quality Support manages the approval of survey requests.

Those responsible for initiating University surveys must seek advice from the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) to determine if ethics approval is required. The Survey Framework does not replace the role of the Office of Research Ethics, Compliance and Integrity.


Survey Approval

The following Survey Approval Process flowchart has been created to assist with the approval of surveys. Submission for approval of surveys, where they fall within the scope of the Learning and Quality Support team's authority, must be submitted to using the Survey Approval Form at least two months prior to the intended date of issuing the survey to its intended recipients.

Survey Approval Flowchart

Survey Register

The Survey Register (staff only access) contains a schedule of approved surveys to assist the University to keep track of the number and range of surveys under the remit of the Learning and Quality Support team. The Register provides information about the range of current and completed surveys.

The Survey Register is maintained by Learning and Quality Support. Please email if updated information is available.

Compliance with Other University Policies and Guidelines

All surveys must comply with the following University policies and guidelines:

Human Research Ethics
Records Management
Intellectual Property
Responsible Conduct of Research

It is the responsibility of survey applicants to ensure that they adhere to relevant University policies.


Survey Guidelines

In considering surveys for approval the Learning and Quality Support (LQS) team regard the following issues, with a view to minimising the impact on survey populations and ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness where possible:

  • the volume and range of surveys taking place within the relevant schedule period;
  • the potential impact on the population;
  • possible duplication or redundancy of information to be solicited from survey respondents;
  • whether required information may be obtained from existing data sources;
  • the potential value and quality of the data to be collected to the University as well as the applicant; and
  • proposed methodology, to ascertain, for example, whether sufficient responses may be obtained from a sub-sample of the targeted sample.

In making its decisions the LQS also takes into account arrangements for protection of privacy and safeguarding confidentiality of respondents in collection and reporting of data.

The Learning and Quality Support (LQS) team has established the following guidelines as to which surveys require approval. These include proposed surveys of whole student/staff or alumni populations (even if sampled) and survey proposals of sub-groups which are also whole of population, such as:

  • all international/domestic students
  • all first year students
  • all male staff/students
  • all female staff/students
  • all higher degree by research (HDR) students
  • all undergraduate (UG) students
  • all postgraduate (PG) students

In addition, all survey proposals of University of Adelaide staff or student populations by external bodies should also be considered by Learning and Quality Support for approval.

Requests from External Agencies

External agencies seeking use of, and access to, University of Adelaide data or University populations (staff, students, alumni) for research purposes must obtain the necessary clearances and approvals, use appropriate survey methodology, and demonstrate adherence with the following conditions:

  • the nature of the research will be beneficial to the University and/or staff and students,
  • the University will retain ownership of data collected during evaluation activities, and
  • the evaluation activity will include a process whereby the participants can submit and receive feedback.

Approval of access is at the discretion of the Learning and Quality Support.

The University of Adelaide's Survey Framework sets out the University's rationale, processes and responsibilities for survey management. The University acknowledges the important role that surveys play in informing teaching and research activities.

The University seeks to protect the privacy of its staff and students, maintain the confidentiality of its data, and prevent its staff and students from being over-surveyed. The University does not support external agencies using its staff and students for the collection of data. External agencies seeking an exception to the University position will be referred to Learning and Quality Support. The University does not support the use of email as a means of recruitment of its staff and students for survey purposes and is unable to disclose any personal information to any third party.


Survey Resources

The following documents provide information on good practice in conducting surveys:

Surveys - Research Methodology and Statistics
Extract from presentation by Professor Deborah Turnbull to honours students. Covers types of surveys, validity (internal and external), measurement bias, advantages and disadvantages of survey approaches.

Survey Design
Provides information on the steps in a survey project, determining the survey sample, advantages and disadvantages of different survey methodologies.

Guidelines for Planning Effective Surveys
A University of Reading webpage which provides information on survey methodologies, questionnaire design, sampling principles and statistical aspects of running a survey.



Go to the Survey Register page (Staff-only access)

Division of Academic and Student Engagement

The University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

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