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Category Administration and Management
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, 10 December 2012
Date Policy Took Effect 1 May 2013
Last approved revision 27 October 2017
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible officer Director, Quality Advancement


To ensure a co-ordinated approach to surveying students and graduates that aligns with and supports the University's strategic direction and associated imperatives.

Organisational scope

This policy applies to all surveys of students and graduates conducted for administrative purposes and/or academic research if they are initiated within or sponsored by a service division.

This policy does not apply to:

  • Surveys initiated within the academic divisions
  • Course and Teaching Evaluations conducted by the Quality Advancement Unit (QAU)
  • Surveys directed to prospective or intending students (if they are not enrolled at the University of Otago at the time of the survey)
  • Surveys targeting staff of the University of Otago.


Core Surveys
Surveys recognised by the University as its primary surveys of students and graduates. These surveys are: the Student Opinion Survey, Graduate Opinion Survey, College Residents Survey and International Student Barometer (managed by the Quality Advancement Unit) and the Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand (conducted by the National Centre for Lifecourse Research at the University of Otago on behalf of Universities New Zealand).
Information/feedback collected from University of Otago students and graduates.
Surveys of students and graduates covered by the Organisational Scope of this Policy.
Surveys Co-ordination Group
A group appointed by the Director, Quality Advancement and is responsible for the approval, registration and scheduling of all surveys covered by this Policy.
Surveys Database
A University database that holds: a description of each survey, its target population, contact details of the Survey Sponsor(s) and a copy of the instrument (survey/questionnaire). The aim of the Survey Database is to promote effective and efficient use of data collected through surveys of students and graduates.
Surveys Manager
The staff member in the Quality Advancement Unit who is the key contact for any matters relating to implementation of this Policy including the activities of the Surveys Co-ordination Group.
Surveys Schedule
A published and regularly updated 24-month advance notice schedule of surveys that have been approved by the Surveys Co-ordination Group.
Survey Sponsor
The person based in a Service Division requesting the survey to be conducted.
All current students (whether graduates or not) of the University of Otago.
All students who have completed a University of Otago degree qualification, diploma or certificate.


  1. Surveys require approval, registration and scheduling by the Surveys Co-ordination Group.
  2. All approved surveys are to be registered in the surveys schedule and added to the survey database.
  3. The Survey Sponsor must submit the details of the proposed survey (including a draft of the proposed survey instrument) via the Surveys Manager to obtain approval from the Surveys Co-ordination Group.
  4. The Surveys Co-ordination Group will consider the following matters in deciding whether to approve a survey and register it in the Surveys Schedule:
    1. The stated purpose of the survey and its alignment with the University's strategic direction and associated imperatives
    2. Whether or not the information sought already exists (with reference to the Surveys Database) thus potentially forestalling unnecessary and duplicate data collection
    3. The proposed survey questions (with reference to form, content and formatting, toensure that students or graduates are not asked similar questions through two or more surveys within a short timeframe)
    4. The proposed timing and duration of the survey (with reference to the scheduling of core and previously approved surveys so that surveys targeting the same population are not run at the same time or in close proximity, as well as taking into account significant academic and administrative events such as graduation, examinations, course approval)
    5. The target population (with reference to the number of existing or previously approved survey proposals and to prevent certain groups and individuals from being over-surveyed)
    6. The intended mode of delivery (ie paper or electronic) and how the data will be collected and analysed, including sampling procedures
    7. The communication strategy with regards to sharing of survey findings taking into account matters of confidentiality and anonymity\
    8. Whether or not the information sought may be obtained by other means, such as adding items to a previously approved survey.
  5. Once a proposal has been approved by the Surveys Co-ordination Group responsibility for the conduct and administration of the survey rests with the Survey Sponsor.
  6. Surveys conducted electronically must also comply with policies and law applicable to electronic communications.
  7. The intended use of the survey and its findings must be made clear to participants in the survey/questionnaire.
  8. Survey processes must comply with the Privacy Act 1993 and any applicable University policy designed to protect the privacy and confidentiality of students and confidentiality of students and graduates
  9. Data collected through University surveys remains the property of the University and is subject to any criteria and standards set out by the Survey Co-ordination Group from time to time. Data may only be released to external parties after aggregation and de-identification and with the written permission of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Romain Mirosa
Surveys Manager
Quality Advancement Unit
Tel +64 3 479 8726

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