Survey and Administrative Approval Policy

Policy number: CS-1704-2018
Policy Title: Survey and Administrative Approval Policy
Policy Owner: Chief Business Services Officer
Effective Date: May 16, 2018

Last Revised: November 30, 2022

On this page:

  1. Purpose
  2. Application and Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Principles
  5. Accountability and Compliance
  6. Rules
  7. Non-compliance
  8. Inquiries
  9. Policy Revision Date
  10. Attachments
  11. Specific Links

1. Purpose

This policy outlines the conditions under which members of the College community are requested to participate in surveys; the Institutional Survey and Administrative Approval Procedure; and the requirements for the collection, retention, dissemination of data and outcomes derived from surveys.

The policy works in conjunction with the Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans Policy when required for projects/surveys that are part of research, whether from internal or external sources.


2. Application and Scope

This policy applies to College employees, students, and any external organization / individual(s) requesting to administer research/surveys to students or other College stakeholders, or requesting administrative/survey data for other purposes.  

All surveys and data collection that include 350 or more participants must be approved in advance unless they meet one of the following exceptions:

  • Surveys that are part of assigned work of a course or academic program requirements, whether conducted by Faculty or students. However, projects involving 350 or more participants outside of their course or program, or, capstone project are subject to this policy;
  • Course, teaching, services, workshops and training evaluations or polls conducted by individual staff with students/registrants enrolled in their courses, subjects, programs, workshops, as part of internal process to assess or assure the quality of services, learning and teaching;
  • Feedback from clients at point-of-service;
  • Focus groups and interviews (face-to-face or telephone);
  • Data requests for administrative purposes only where the use is outlined during its collection (program evaluation, data used to evaluate retention etc.);
  • Institutional elections;
  • Forms used to collect information for administrative purposes; and
  • Grand-parented, large-scale administrative surveys that are implemented on a routine basis at the College, including: 
    • KPI Student Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, KPI Graduate Outcomes and Satisfaction Survey, and KPI Employee Satisfaction Survey;
    • Student Feedback on Teaching Surveys;
    • Student Entrance Survey;
    • Mohawk Student Support Programs and Services Survey; and
    • Employee Engagement Survey.


3. Definitions

“Administrative surveys” are surveys of College stakeholders undertaken by and/or for College departments/areas to inform services, programs and planning.

“College stakeholders” includes, but is not limited to applicants, students, employees, alumni, Board members (College Board members, Program Advisory Committee members), and co-op/clinical/placement/practicum employers.

“Data Collection” refers to the process of gathering the information on a group of people or things. The basic methods of data collection are self-completions, interviewer-assisted (either through personal or telephone interviews), direct observation, and the use of administrative or secondary data.

“Evaluation” is undertaken to inform decisions, clarify opinions, identify improvements, and provide information about programs, services and policies within the contextual boundaries of time, place, values, and politics. (Fraserhealth Web)

“Mohawk College Research Ethics Board (MCREB)” is a body of researchers, community members, and others with specific expertise established by the College to review the ethical acceptability of all research involving humans conducted within the College’s jurisdiction or under its auspices.

“Survey Administrator” refers to any individual or group of people conducting research/survey for the purposes of, but not limited to, research, teaching, quality assurance and process improvement and/or marketing.

“Secondary Data” is existing administrative or survey data that has already been collected, and used for different purposes.

“Surveys” include all data and information gathering techniques either paper, web, telephone, or face-to-face. Surveys typically gather information on experiences, opinions, behaviors, and perceptions.

“Survey Fatigue” is a decline in survey response rate due to repeated requests for survey participation and/or prior completion of other survey(s).

“Survey Inventory” is a College owned and maintained inventory of all previously conducted surveys.

“Survey Methodology” involves survey census or sampling of the population, survey data collection techniques (e.g., questionnaire construction), and processes to ensure confidentiality, including data transfer protocols.


4. Principles

This policy is intended to provide a coordinated approach to the administration of research and surveys directed at College stakeholders in order to maximize their benefits by:

  • Ensuring legislative compliance and compliance with internal processes;
  • Maximizing response rates and protecting against research and survey fatigue of particular groups;
  • Avoiding or minimizing overlap or duplication in data collection;
  • Standardizing research and survey quality, where appropriate;
  • Ensuring obligations related to research and surveys are met and are not published or further disseminated, without permission.
  • Preventing or minimizing survey fatigue by limiting the number and timing of surveys to any one specific group;
  • Protecting privacy and confidentiality;
  • Ensuring good research/survey methodology and design;
  • Encouraging the communication and sharing of research/survey results; and
  • Developing and maintaining a College Research and Survey Inventory.


5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

This policy has been approved by the Senior Leadership Team.

5.2 Compliance

The Chief Business Services Officer is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy and updating the policy as required.


6. Rules

Survey Administrators are responsible for ensuring that their survey meets the terms of all relevant College policies and procedures and all applicable provincial and federal legislation.

6.1 Internal Requests to Survey

  • All Survey Administrators that wish to conduct a survey that includes 350 or more participants must submit: I want to do a survey at Mohawk College form to IR prior to implementation. 
  • IR will connect with the Survey Administrator within four business days for consultation and feedback. IR will review the request for:
    • Alignment with the College’s Strategic plan and priorities and benefits to the College;
    • The extent to which other surveys or existing administrative data sets supply (or could supply) the required data;
    • Design of survey, including, timing, scope and delivery mode;
    • The extent of the survey’s burden on target groups;
    • Optimal timing to ensure the survey does not interfere with other College surveys;
    • Survey questions, methodology, and communications;
    • Compliance with best practice guidelines and College policies and procedures and all relevant provincial and federal legislation.
  • IR may recommend the following:
    • Survey approved as-is;
    • Survey approved with changes;
    • Survey added to existing College survey;
    • Survey declined as data already exists in other surveys or sources;
    • Declined as the survey does not meet critical criteria for approval; or
    • The survey is exempt from the process.
  • If the data collection constitutes research as defined by the College’s ‘Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans Policy,’ the Researcher must apply for ethical review through the MCREB prior to receiving any institutional data, communicating or surveying the Mohawk community about the research.
  • Once reviewed, IR will coordinate the collection of appropriate signatures for the approval of the survey. Surveys that have been previously approved by the Mohawk Executive Group, Senior Leadership Team, Academic Management Team, or IdeaWorks Catalyst Fund, do not need to be approved. All other surveys and secondary data requests must be approved by the Survey Administrator’s Manager and/or resource Manager.
  • IR will add Information about approved surveys to the College’s Research and Survey Inventory for tracking purposes.
  • Once approved and recorded, the Survey Administrator can implement the survey using their preferred method. IR can support the implementation upon request. When appropriate, internal surveys are expected to use College-wide survey software. Where this is not possible, it is recommended that only survey tools that house information in Canadian data centres be used.
  • IR can assist with reporting and data analysis upon request.

6.2 External Requests to Survey

All external requests to survey or collect data from College community members should be directed to the Institutional Research Website for information on the application process.

6.3 Precedence

The following surveys take precedence over other internal and external survey requests:

  • Ontario Colleges Student Experience Survey;
  • Student Feedback on Teaching Surveys;
  • KPI Graduate Outcomes and Satisfaction Survey;
  • KPI Employer Satisfaction Survey;
  • Student Entrance Survey; and
  • Ad Hoc Ministry mandated College-wide surveys.


7. Non-Compliance

Institutional research will monitor surveys for compliance with regulatory instruments. Failure to comply with this or, other relevant policies may result in the termination of the survey or data collection and exclusion from administering future surveys at the College.


8. Inquiries

All questions regarding the survey administration, issues, technological concerns etc. should be directed to: surveys [at] (surveys[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca)

All requests for surveys, analysis, and applications should be directed to: institutional.research [at] (institutional[dot]research[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca).


9. Policy Revision Date

9.1 Revision Date

November 2027

9.2 Responsibility

This Chief Business Services Officer will review this policy every five years or earlier when required.


10. Attachments


11. Specific Links

Appendix A - Institutional Survey and Administrative Approval Procedure

The purpose of this document is to provide information on how to go through the Institutional Survey and Administrative approvals process, and the requirements for administering a survey at the College. Please e-mail institutional.research [at] (institutional[dot]research[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca) if you have any questions about the process.

Survey and Administrative Approval Application Form

Individuals, departments or organizations wishing to conduct a survey covered by the survey policy, research, or require secondary data for another purpose, regardless if they already received administrative approval or not; must complete and submit: I want to do a survey at Mohawk College form. Information required for the application includes, but is not limited to:

  • Description of the research/survey project, including the purpose and intended use of results;
  • Any approvals already received for research project / survey;
  • Specific population receiving the survey or part of the research, and the number of participants being surveyed;
  • Type of data collection: survey (paper, e-mail, online), focus group, interviews, pre-existing data, etc. 
  • Time frame for administering the research and/or survey, including beginning and end dates;
  • Current draft of the survey (if applicable), including introduction and all e-mail invitations and reminders and/or on which website survey accessed (e-mail when asked);
  • Retention, disposal and management of data, including processes for ensuring confidentiality/anonymity of participants and data collected;
  • Description of any planned incentive program for survey respondents; 
  • Appropriate procedures and contacts in the event of any complaint or other correspondence by respondents. 

Any research or new survey covered by Survey and Administrative Approval policy, whether planned to be routine or ad hoc, will require Administrative approval(s) and survey approval from IR (if required).  Delays in being approved can be mitigated by ensuring all required information detailed above are supplied in a timely manner, and allowing the appropriate amount of time to go through the ethics and/or Institutional Survey and Administrative Approval process.  Internal employees can contact IR prior to completing the form if they have any questions.

Submission of the form does not guarantee approval(s).

Final decisions regarding approvals for research and/or surveys rests with the appropriate groups (Administration, MCREB, and/or IR).

Approval Process

  1. Complete: I want to do a survey at Mohawk College form.
  2. Institutional Research (IR) will monitor the submissions from the form daily (Monday thru Friday, except College closures).
  3. IR will e-mail individual listed in form within 4 business days that:
    a. Request was received, and
    b. Any clarification or additional information/documents are required.
  4. If the project/survey has not received administrative approval, IR will reach out to the appropriate people for approvals via e-mail, including a summary of the research/survey/data collection request, and any recommendations.
  5. If the survey is determined to be research. MCREB approval is required. IR will connect the Survey Administrator with the MCREB. 
  6. IR will document all information collected from this process in a database, including:
    1. Research/Survey information gathered by online form.
    2. Who provided approvals
      1. Administrative Approval(s) – names/administrative group, positions, and dates approved
      2. MCREB Approval (if required) -  REB #, date approved
      3. Survey Approval (if required) – Decision, any explanations, date approved
    3. Decision (approved, approved with changes, approval to add to existing survey, no approval-data already exits, no approval-doesn’t meet critical criteria, and exempt-falls under survey exceptions list) with any explanations and date of decision
  7. IR will e-mail approval process applicant with decisions, approval information, and any relevant information needed (e.g., explanation why approval was declined, changes required to get full approval, collegial comments, etc.).
  8. If MCREB approval is required, the Research/Survey Administrator must send approval certificate via email to IR before administration of research/survey.