If students in a course, independent study, or class-assigned student group are interested in conducting a survey, focus group or other type of data collection that involves SSW students, staff or faculty members, it is important that the students seek appropriate approval from the relevant stakeholders. Please also keep in mind that such requests often create additional workload for staff and are discouraged for that reason. Please adhere to the following guidelines:
1. For all projects that involve data collection within the school, the relevant stakeholders must be contacted for consultation about the project prior to initiating data collection. The students are expected to prepare a brief summary of the project and a timeline for data collection. This will avoid duplication of effort and will minimize the risk of contamination. The stakeholders may include the assistant dean for field education, the assistant dean for student services, the program director, the Curriculum Committee, the Doctoral Office, the Office of Global Activities, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office, or others, based on the focus of the evaluation effort.
2. The students, after the stakeholder consultation meeting, must submit the brief summary of the project and a timeline for data collection to the associate dean for educational programs. The MSW program director will review the materials and may recommend modifications in the survey focus and/or the timeline for data collection based on prior studies or current projects already underway. Depending on the number of survey requests, the associate dean for educational programs may request that an omnibus survey be used to minimize oversampling the same group.
3. The students must determine if the data collected and findings will be shared with anyone other than the instructor and class members. If the students wish to share the findings outside of the classroom in any format, then an Institutional Review Board (IRB) process must be completed. Students and course instructors will submit an IRB proposal. (Note: This process entails a review that may take up to a month to complete. Feedback is provided accordingly.)
The SSW community supports student efforts to engage in evaluation and these guidelines are designed to assist students in following appropriate evaluation processes.