Survey Planning

Gathering survey data takes longer than most people realize. Use the resources below to create your plan and streamline the process.

Survey Timing

Survey invitations and reminder messages can be scheduled in advance in Qualtrics. When setting up the schedule, think about the days and times of the week that participants are mostly likely to have time to take a survey. Sending invitation and reminder messages a little before these times should help ensure the message is at the top of their email at a time when they are available to participate.

It can be helpful to look at past survey submissions to determine the times that have been most popular. If you don't have a past survey to refer to, talk to a marketing person or another group at the university that has recently completed a study to see if they can help. As an example, a review of the 2018 First Destination Survey suggested that the highest number of WCU students completed surveys between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. The top three times were 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Midnight to 1:00 AM was also fairly popular.

External Surveys

External Requests

Research. Individuals and organizations outside WCU, who wish to invite members of the WCU community to participate in research studies, must have a WCU sponsor and must receive approval from the WCU Institutional Review Board committee. The individual or organization must provide a data use agreement and letter of cooperation from the WCU sponsor.

Assessment (non-research).The requirements for assessment are determined based on the nature of the study. The interested individual or organization should provide information about any training they have received to conduct assessments, an overview of the methodology, a copy of the consent form, and a copy of the assessment questions.

To learn more, contact the Executive Director for Assessment at 610-436-3434 or

Data Use Agreements

If the data collection plan involves an external organization contacting students directly, the organization must provide a data use agreement or have a comprehensive data use clause written into the contract with WCU. The agreement/contract should include information about where the data will be stored, how long it will be stored, who will be able to access it, and the security practices that are in place to ensure the data is not compromised. Before a list of students can be shared with the company, this agreement must be approved by the PASSHE Legal Counsel and notification must be provided to the University Registrar. For contracts, please use PASSHE's standard data use language. For data use agreements, the external organization must write the agreement. Data use agreements/contract clauses will become part of the Institutional Review Board application.

Letters of Cooperation

A letter of cooperation is required when external organizations are collaborating with WCU on research studies (except in the case where the organization was hired by WCU). This letter will become part of the Institutional Review Board application.