The Cornell Survey and Assessment Research Group (CSARG) coordinates, supports, and reviews data collection efforts that rely upon members of the Cornell community as participants. Cornell professionals can seek guidance from CSARG for any data collection project, large or small, whether involving Cornell students, staff or faculty as participants. While web-based surveys are the most common methodology proposed, the committee focus includes and encourages the use of other data collection methods such as interviews or focus groups.
Contact CSARG About Your Project
Depending upon the scope of the project and the nature of the advice being sought, you may request and receive CSARG guidance very informally — for example, by emailing or talking with one or a few committee members. See our member list below for contact information.
Data collection projects that are larger in scope should be formally reviewed by the committee before they are initiated. Information on when and how to submit a project proposal for CSARG review is available here.
The committee is comprised of representatives from Student and Campus Life (SCL), Institutional Research and Planning (IRP), and elsewhere at Cornell — all with expertise in assessment and research methods. Our member list and contact information is available here.
Calendar of Campus Surveys
In an institution as large as Cornell it is difficult to be aware of other data collection activities that have been or soon will be conducted. The CSARG maintains a web-based calendar of SCL, IRP and Graduate School-based activities, as well as projects that originate beyond these domains, when known. We encourage you to consult this calendar in the early stages of planning your own project. Contact Marne Einarson to have your project added to this calendar.
Why CSARG Was Established
There is an ever-growing emphasis on using systematically-collected data to inform institutional planning and decision-making. As a result, our faculty, staff and, most of all, our students receive an increasing number of invitations to take part in various data collection activities, particularly web-based surveys. However important and well intentioned these efforts, this greater volume of data collection activity increases the likelihood of duplication in the types of data being collected and decreases the likelihood that people will agree to participate in a given project. Furthermore, these efforts do not always follow best practices in data collection design. CSARG was established to address these concerns.
Here are some other resources to check out when planning a data collection project at Cornell:
- Surveys conducted by Cornell’s office of Institutional Research and Planning
- Guidelines for surveying students at Cornell: So You Want to Survey Cornell Students?
- Recruiting participants for research: Access to Cornell Campus Constituencies for Research Purposes
- Does your project require an application to the Cornell IRB office?: IRB Decision Tree
- University registrar’s guidelines for the use of student data in research