Library Assessment Tips & Techniques: Approvals

Before undertaking assessment, it is important to get feedback, buy-in, and/or formal approval, if required. There are many reasons to do this, but the most important is to have a centralized reporting structure wherein a committee or administrator knows what you are doing to avoid duplication of effort and/or competition for resources between projects.

  • Consult with members of the Library Assessment Team, department chairs, colleagues, and/or the Dean, if needed.

Typically, unless you plan to publish the results, assessment undertaken for program improvement, such as satisfaction surveys and information competence testing, does not require review by the campus Institutional Review Board (IRB) since it is tied to the curriculum and will be kept private. See the link below for more information:

However, large scale surveys (aimed at a large sample or complete population), whether for program improvement assessment or not, which requires the Information Technology (IT) department to generate temporary listservs of campus emails of a large group of students, faculty, or staff, do require approval.

  • First, contact the IT department to ascertain if any other large scale surveys are planned by them or other campus departments. For example, every spring semester, IT sends out a survey link to faculty on their technology needs. In addition, Institutional Research (IR) conducts the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in the spring, too. To prevent "survey fatigue," IT will try to create different samples so that the same folks are not bombarded by multiple email requests to take surveys.
  • Second, IT will direct you to the Office of University Advancement for their approval, which is typically a brief email from you describing the project, sample, and timing. Once you have their approval, forward the email to IT, and they will generate the email address for your sample.