Skip to content

Propose a Survey




Use this page to develop survey proposals that sail through the review process and are posted to the campus Survey Calendar!

Jump to information about

To determine if your survey requires review by the Survey Coordinating Committee, visit Surveys Requiring Review.

If you have questions about this process, please contact Kerry Clifford, convener of the Survey Coordinating Committee.

Proposal Review Timeline 

Submit your proposal by the first business day of the month prior to the administration month (e.g., submit March 1 if want to administer in April) to ensure its review at that month's CWGA meeting.

The Survey Coordinating Committee meets during the third week of each month as part of the Campus Working Group on Assessment (CWGA).

Steps for Preparing and Submitting a Proposal to Survey


If your survey will be administered via email, we recommend that you verify that you will have access and permission (see UC Merced's Policy on Access to Student Data and Guidelines on Use of Mass Communications (Email) Services) to use the necessary contact information before preparing the proposal. The Survey Coordinating Committee is not able to provide or approve access to contact information. 


Complete the steps 1-9 below to develop a survey proposal that sails through the review process, and is posted to the campus Survey Calendar

For each step, resources are provided (via hyperlinks) to explain and support your work.

If, at anytime, you have questions, please contact your school or unit assessment specialist or Laura Martin, the convener of the Survey Coordinating Committee.

Download the Proposal Form

1. Download the Survey Proposal Form (updated May 2018) and save it to your hard drive. As you work through the steps that follow, answer the corresponding question on the form. Please note the steps below and the form questions are not in the same order.

Determine if You Need to Survey and  If the Survey Requires Review

2. Determine if a survey is the best way to gather information to answer the question(s) you have. 

3. Determine if the information is already available or could be gathered through a planned survey. It's as easy as a phone call to your school assessment specialist or Institutional Decision and Research Support.

4. Visit Surveys Requiring Review to confirm that you need to submit a survey proposal. Identify the population you will survey, estimate the number of individuals will receive your survey, and review the types of surveys requiring review. 

Preparing to Submit Your Proposal

5. Determine when you want to run the survey, including the dates when the survey will open and close. Visit the campus Survey Calendar to identify potentially competing surveys.

6. Develop your survey (what will you ask) and a plan for achieving a good response rate (how will you encourage response). Visit How to Write a Good Survey and Achieve a Good Response Rate for more information.

7. Visit Ensuring Compliance: A Necessary Step to determine if your survey requires Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval (or exemption) before it can be run. 

8. Confirm your surveying plans comply with campus privacy, information use, and privacy policies, including FERPA, UCM Data Use Policies, and HIPAA.

Submit Your Proposal

If you have completed steps 1-8 above, you are ready to submit your proposal.

9. Please send the following to

  •  The complete Survey Proposal Form, titled as follows: Year.Month.Day (of proposed survey administration) as well as name of the survey and description of the document.

For example, 2015.10.22_NewStudentSurvey_Proposal.

  •  A copy of your survey instrument, even if it is in draft form. Please use the same naming convention as for the Survey Proposal Form, adding the words "Instrument" or "Draft_Instrument" to the title.

For example,  2015.10.22_NewStudentSurvey_Instrument.

Next Steps

10. Expect to receive feedback from the Survey Coordinating Committee within one week of its monthly meeting. The Committee meets the third week of the month. 

The Survey Coordinating Committee's feedback is intended to help you make the most of your survey in light of the campus' goals for surveying. It may include suggestions for

  • survey design
  • survey timing, with the goal of maximizing response rates 
  • administering the survey

We will also ask you to contribute to our campus goals for surveying by

  • allowing us to post the final version of your survey instrument (not results) on the survey resource page, as a resource for others.
  • providing us with the final response rate for your survey. 

Sharing response rates, and strategies for maximizing rates, will help the campus understand and manage the cummulative impact of surveying on our campus - to all our benefits!

Recurring Surveys

A significant goal of survey coordination is to make public, on the campus Survey Calendar, who is being surveyed, and when, as a means for managing survey fatigue1 and maximizing response rates. 

Toward this end, it will be important to communicate to the Survey Coordinating Committee the dates your recurring survey will be run each year, so that it can be included on the calendar.

The first time you propose a survey that is or will be recurring, please fill out the Survey Proposal Form (see instructions above). Each year, thereafter, please submit the Recurring Survey Proposal Form at least one month before the survey will be run.  The Survey Coordinating Committee will use this information to update the calendar and track surveying activity on our campus.

If, however, if any of the following have changed relative to the most recent administration of the survey,

  • the method by which the survey is conducted2
  • the population being surveyed3
  • the question(s) the survey will help to answer4
  • the audience to whom the survey results will be reported5

please submit a new or revised Survey Proposal Form together with a copy of the survey instrument.

Feel free to simply revise your original Survey Proposal Form to reflect these changes, or you can use a blank form provided here.

How to Submit your Proposal

Please send your proposal to, using the following naming conventions. 

  • For the Recurring Survey Proposal Form:

Year.Month.Day (of proposed survey administration) as well as name of the survey and description of the document.

For example, 2015.10.22_NewStudentSurvey_Recurring

  • For the Survey Proposal Form and instrument Year.Month.Day (of proposed survey administration) as well as name of the survey and description of the document adding the words "Instrument" or "Draft_Instrument" to the title.

For example, 2015.10.22_NewStudentSurvey_Proposal and 2015.10.22_NewStudentSurvey_Instrument.

For any questions or concerns, please contact Kerry Clifford for details.

Why Get on the Calendar?

Posting to the campus Survey Calendar is valuable to you and the campus community.

By letting the campus community know what population(s) you are surveying and when, you will help us manage the number of surveys that are running concurrently, particularly those targeting the same groups.

This will help you because it will reduce survey fatigue, thereby increasing the likelihood that people will respond to your survey. 

For other practices that will help encourage target populations to respond to your surveys, visit Achieve a Good Response Rate.

1Decreased willingness to participate in surveys, which reduces response rates and can compromise the usefulness of the data.

2Corresponds to Section C, number 7 in the Survey Proposal Form.

3Corresponds to Section C, number 1 in the Survey Proposal Form.

4Corresponds to Section C, number 6 in the Survey Proposal Form.

5Corresponds to Section D, number 1 in the Survey Proposal Form.