The Functions of Institutional Research

As part of AIR’s 50th anniversary celebration, historic documents including papers, books, and manuscripts are being added to the AIR History page throughout this year. One such document is The Functions of Institutional Research, 2nd editionby Joe Saupe. Reflecting, 25 years after this paper was first published, on how the purpose, organizational placement, effective characteristics, and tools of institutional research have changed and, in some ways, remained constant, is an interesting study during this historical year for AIR. Saupe defines institutional research as “research conducted within an institution of higher education to provide information which supports institutional planning, policy formation and decision making.”

We invite you to comment on the relevance of Saupe’s statements for today’s institutional research..


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Total Comments: 1
Gina posted on 10/15/2015 3:46 PM
It is interesting to note that Saupe clarified the distinction between institutional research and research on postsecondary education in this paper. When IR was still in its infancy in the 1960s, it was common for offices to be staffed by faculty members. I imagine at that point it was quite confusing to some to distinguish between these researchers' institutional research work and their academic research in the field of postsecondary education. It is exciting to work in the field of IR at this point in time when the distinction is more clear and not only are there opportunities for both institutional research and academic research on postsecondary education, but academic research on institutional research itself. We have come a long way.