Survey Policies and Procedures

Cal Poly Humboldt's Online Survey Coordination Policy charges the University Survey Coordination Committee (USCC) with managing electronic surveys of the campus community, which includes students, staff, and faculty. The committee's goal is to prevent survey fatigue through coordinated sampling methods; protect confidentiality through standards of practice; and ensure that the data collected is reliable, valid, and used to inform decision-making.

Institutional Review Board

The USCC does not supersede the policies and procedures of Humboldt's Institutional Review Board (IRB). Researchers are still responsible for obtaining the required IRB exemptions or permissions before implementing any survey. Before providing researchers with a survey sample, IRAR will confirm IRB approval or exemption. Information about human subjects research and the IRB process can be found on the IRB website linked above.

Survey Approval Process for Cal Poly Humboldt-Affiliated Researchers

The Survey Coordination Request form must be submitted electronically at least 1 week prior to the next scheduled USCC meeting. The requester should consult the survey calendar to ensure the submission is completed with adequate time for review. A full list of the academic year's meetings can be found here, but typically they are held monthly on the first Friday of each month at 3pm. The USCC will acknowledge receipt of the survey request and review the survey proposal at their next meeting. Once the committee has met, the requester will be contacted about next steps within 3 business days.

Requests requiring samples of more than 300 students or any special subsets (e.g., all freshmen, all athletes, etc.) of all students, faculty, or staff should be submitted for consideration at least three months prior to the proposed administration.

Exceptions to this policy

A survey may be deemed exempt from this policy by review of the committee or committee designee based on the criteria listed below:

I. Ballots, Polls, Class evaluations.
II. Surveys that utilize a student research participation pool (e.g., Psychology Department Sona Systems).
III. Surveys from service providers to service recipients for process improvement, quality assurance, and/or administrative assessment, such as point-of-service surveys administered during or immediately following the service interaction or event.
IV. Surveys of students by their instructor of record for pedagogical or curricular purposes where the results will not be published or otherwise disclosed.
V. Surveys that evaluate an individual's leadership, performance evaluation, or periodic review.
VI. Fact-based administrative forms that individuals complete as part of routine business operations (e.g., directory information updates, scholarship applications, information technology help tickets). 
VII. Student surveys of fellow students that are conducted solely to fulfill the requirements of a course assignment (i.e., results will not be published or otherwise presented to an audience external to Cal Poly Humboldt) under the guidance and direction of a faculty member who has completed an approved human subjects protection curriculum.
VIII. Surveys from academic programs, departments, and colleges to students affiliated with their unit.
IX. Any survey that is conducted in person and not online.

Survey Resources

Survey Approval Process for Non-Cal Poly Humboldt-Affiliated Researchers

Humboldt Information Technology Services provides Gmail accounts to all students and employees. The university uses those accounts for official university communication such as advising appointments, billing notices, and emergency information. In providing this service, Humboldt requires that our campus community adhere to the Gmail program policies, which include the request that users exercise judgment when sending an email to a large number of recipients, even if the recipients elected to receive emails from them in the past. Such emails can lead to users marking them as spam, which increases the likelihood that future messages sent from the same address will be classified as spam by our anti-abuse systems.

While we value research endeavors by non-Cal Poly Humboldt-affiliated researchers, we owe it to our community to limit communication competing with or causing issues with course information, instructors’ emails, and official university communications.