May 29-31, 2018

Center of Inquiry staff did several presentations at the 2018 Annual Forum of the Association of Institutional Research (AIR). Below you will find titles and abstracts of their presentations.


Balancing Survey Participant Experience with Analysis and Reporting

Poster presentation by Kirsten Skillrud and Macanda Myers

It is difficult identifying or creating a survey that both caters to the participant experience and produces thoughtful, useful results; however, a survey that satisfies both is critical to boosting your response rates and allowing data-driven decisions. To help you identify or create surveys that satisfy these needs, this poster presentation describes the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium’s experiences in seeking this balance in their surveys. The poster highlights examples of questions and response options from HEDS surveys that have either supported user experience over reporting or vice versa and the outcomes of these choices on analysis and reporting. The poster session will also provide questions IR professionals can ask themselves and their colleagues to help determine if a survey is right for their participants and will provide beneficial results.


Collaboratively Creating Campus Surveys

Discussion Group led by Ivaylo Mantchev and Kirsten Skillrud

In our work with the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, we have collaboratively created or significantly revised five national surveys in the last few years. In this discussion group, we will briefly discuss the processes we have used in creating and revising surveys with the assistance of many of our consortium colleagues. Then we will open discussion to the group to ask about their experiences with collaboratively developing a survey. What parts of the process worked well? What didn’t work? How would they characterize the final product? What would they do differently if they could start the process over? Participants will discuss their experiences with and best practices for collaboratively creating surveys and will leave with concrete tips for most effectively structuring a survey process with others on their own campus or in other groups.


Developing a Procedure to Effectively Check Data for Errors

Preconference workshop by Adrea Hernandez and Kirsten Skillrud

IR professionals work on countless data sets and numerous reports, and they must do so while ensuring the quality of these data because inaccuracies can lead to fines, poor data-driven decisions, and even embarrassing public blunders. Naturally, having data-quality procedures in place and using effective techniques to check these data are critical. The presenters aim to demonstrate how to devise a procedure with multiple techniques that make use of Excel formulas and features in order to ensure quality, error-free data sets and reports. The presenters will also demonstrate formulas and features to use in Excel to check for suspicious data and discuss when to use the techniques and why it is helpful to use them. Participants in this workshop will develop procedures that they can implement at their institutions to ensure that they are reporting error-free data. Participants will also be able to execute various techniques in Excel in order to highlight suspicious data in their own analyses.


Graduation to One Year Out: What Changes Along the Way?

Presentation by Adrea Hernandez, Ivaylo Mantchev, and Kirsten Skillrud

Institutions use senior, first destination, and alumni surveys as mechanisms to measure graduate outcomes, with each type of survey providing a snapshot of the respondent’s trajectory after completing college. These various checkpoints allow IR offices to report on the growth and development that graduates attribute to their college experiences, as well as the post-graduate activities of alumni, in terms of employment, advanced degrees, income, and debt. Drawing on results from over 100 institutions and dozens of alumni cohorts, this presentation provides an analysis of how responses to identical or similar questions differ between seniors at graduation and alumni three, six, and 12 months after graduation on multiple levels: longitudinally by cohort, as well as across survey type overall and by institution.


Networking and Collaborating for One-Person IR Shops

Discussion Group led by Macanda Myers and Adrea Hernandez

At small colleges and universities, many institutional researchers are a “one-person shop.” They are responsible for every role associated with IR: collecting, organizing, analyzing, and presenting to others. So often, others on their campus turn to them as the keeper of institutional knowledge and the person with all of the answers, but they also need someone to turn to when they have questions. One-person shops depend on collaboration both on and off their campuses. In this discussion group, we will discuss strategies for building relationships with other departments that can support efforts to collect data, administer surveys, and report results. Additionally, participants are encouraged to share networking and Forum resources they turn to when an issue unique to their type of campus or type of work arises.