Survey Research & Consulting

The primary purpose of Research and Assessment is to collect and analyze data about University of Cincinnati students to better understand their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. This information is primarily used to inform programs and policies for the university. Two of the main surveys used to collect this data are the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Student Satisfaction Inventory. 

Student engagement represents two critical features of collegiate quality. The first is the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities. The second is how the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities that decades of research studies have shown are linked to student learning.

The National Survey of Student Engagement, developed and administered by researchers at Indiana University, collects information about first-year and senior students' participation in and experience with programs and activities that contribute to their learning and personal development.

University of Cincinnati students have participated in this survey for more than 10 years, and results of the survey have contributed to significant changes on campus, improving students' educational and campus life experiences. A range of reports, outlined below, are available to summarize and analyze NSSE data. 


The Snapshot is a concise collection of key findings from UC's participation in NSSE each year. These findings include a brief summary of the institution's Engagement Indicator and High-Impact Practices results, a comparison of UC's strengths and weaknesses with the peer group, and perceived gain among seniors.

Administration Summary

The Administration Summary provides details about the survey population and sample sizes, response rates, demographic characteristics of respondents, and a list of institutions included in each comparison group.

Engagement Indicators

The ten Engagement Indicators provide a summary of item-level NSSE responses. Survey items are assigned to an Engagement Indicator that offers information about a distinct aspect of student engagement. The Engagement Indicators are organized into four themes.

High Impact Practices

High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are undergraduate opportunities that have strong positive associations with student learning and retention. Each HIP demands considerable time and effort, facilitates learning outside of the classroom, requires meaningful interactions with faculty and students, encourages collaboration with diverse others, and provides frequent substantive feedback. 

Frequencies and Statistical Comparisons

The frequencies and statistical comparisons provide aggregated item-level data. The response distribution for each survey item is displayed next to a test of statistical significance for each comparison group.

Topical Modules

Beginning in 2013, institutions have been able to append topical modules to the NSSE. These modules are short sets of questions that provide additional insights on topics such as academic advising and experiences with diverse perspectives.

Student satisfaction at a college or university plays a role in the success of both the student and the institution, including higher student retention rates. When discussing student satisfaction, it is important to not only look at the student's satisfaction with his or her academic program, but with his or her satisfaction with the entire campus experience. 

The Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), published by Noel-Levitz, collects information about student satisfaction within multiple areas of higher education, including but not limited to Academic Advising, Campus Support Services, Safety and Security, and Campus Life. 

University of Cincinnati has participated in this survey for 10 years, and the results of the survey have contributed to significant changes on campus, improving students' educational and campus life experiences. Please contact Institutional Research with requests for reports of the SSI data. 

Login with your UC credentials to view the results from previous SSI surveys.


Greater demands for assessment and accountability, and the availability of online survey tools have increased the number of surveys sent to university populations. While feedback data from students as well as faculty and staff can be useful, this has also contributed to survey fatigue. 

Survey fatigue affects both the response rate on surveys and the respondent population. When populations are over-surveyed, many do not respond to the surveys they are sent. Some estimates indicate that response rates on surveys have reduced from near 70% of the population surveyed down to 20% in the past two decades. It may be easy to assume that the responding population is representative of the overall population, but research has shown survey fatigue disproportionately affects minority populations which leads to skewed results. 

The Office of Institutional Research strongly recommends contacting us during the planning of a survey for a large university population. For any survey that will be administered to the majority of the UC population, you must obtain permission from both the Provost Office and the UC Institutional Review Board (IRB) before implementation.

We administer large surveys and coordinate many others. Keep in mind that the information you are looking for may already be available or could be included with another survey. Additionally, we maintain a calendar of surveys and survey populations so your survey can be timed to not compete with other surveys of the same population. 

Please contact Lauren Healy when you are planning survey research so we can add it to the survey calendar and answer any questions you may have. 


The Office of Institutional Research has several staff members with training and experience in survey development and administration. We may be available, depending on workload, to consult with you on:

  • Recruitment schedule, marketing and messaging
  • Survey design and item development
  • Data analysis
  • Providing contact information for population or sample to be surveyed

To work with the Office of Institutional Research on surveys, please plan  ahead and contact us at least a month in advance of when you intend to administer the survey.

Working with the Office of Institutional Research on your surveys will help the university community reduce survey fatigue, optimize the use of our resources and ensure the time spent on surveys is worthwhile. 

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