BU Community Surveys

In cooperation with offices across Boston University, AS&IR assists in surveying BU’s faculty, staff, and students by providing data resources, survey development, and technical and administrative assistance.

Planning a survey?  Before you do, consider the following…

Has the information you need been collected already?

Before adding to the survey burden of BU constituents, be sure that the information you seek is not already available.

  • BU Administrative Data:

Data about members of the BU community, the institution, or BU programs may be available from administrative data.

Access to administrative data is subject to approval from the appropriate Data Executive/Trustee.  Permissions require submission of a Data Use Agreement.  Please contact AS&IR for more information

  • Existing Survey Data:

Surveys are a regular occurrence at BU, and leveraging existing survey data is a quick and efficient way to access needed information and reduce survey fatigue.  Please review the BU Survey Log to see what information may be available to you.


    Do I have the permissions and access needed?

    • To reduce survey fatigue among BU constituents, the Survey Coordinating Committee (SCC) reviews and approves survey activity for administrative use. Approval from the SCC must be obtained for access to broadcast mail or for access to emails for a particular population within BU for survey purposes.  Please provide allow a minimum of 15 business days for review of requests.  Priority will be given to earliest requests, surveys operating on a routine schedule, and/or those linked to specific strategic need of the university.



    • Does your research require approval of the Institutional Review Board? IRB approval is required for projects that meet the threshold definition of research, involve human subjects, and involve interaction with the subjects and/or access to identifiable private information.  Please contact the IRB on your campus (Charles River or Medical) for more information.


    Do I have the resources needed?

    As you plan your effort, consider what resources you will need to develop, conduct, and analyze your survey.  There are several options available, including:

    • Administer the survey yourself.

    Boston University maintains a license with Qualtrics Research Suite, a web-based survey tool that will allow you to create and host a survey yourself.   Refer to BU’s Survey Development Guide for assistance in creating, administering, and analyzing your survey.

    • Work with AS&IR to administer and host the survey for you.

    Subject to AS&IR’s availability and existing project schedule, we may be able to assist you with the design of a survey and then host and administer it for you.

    • Include your questions on a survey already scheduled for administration.

    If a planned survey exists that focuses on the same target population, we suggest working with the survey hosts to potentially append a limited number of targeted questions.

    • Use a consultant or third-party vendor

    There are vendors that specialize in specific survey topics or processes.  Before engaging with a vendor it’s important to:

    1. Engage with BU Sourcing to understand policies around working with an external consultant.  Guided Buying: Engaging a Consultant at Boston University provides more information on this topic.
    2. Make sure you are aware of contract restrictions such as when and if you will obtain data collected, what level of detail you will receive, how and when the consultant can use university data, and what services and products you will receive from the engagement.


      If you are considering building a survey, please review the Survey Development Guide to assist your survey development.


      AS&IR Insider: Link to internal SharePoint of reports and information

      Additional BU Community survey results are available in the AS&IR Insider Report Archive.