DEFINING INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH: FINDINGS FROM A NATIONAL STUDY OF IR WORK TASKS
A Focus on Senior IR/IE Leaders


As part of the effort to document the current state of IR, AIR sought to identify the tasks involved in the work of IR across all titles and variations represented in its membership.

The questions that guided the inquiry included: What skills and abilities do search committees seek when hiring institutional researchers? What tasks are included in AIR members’ work?

In order to explore these questions, position descriptions and announcements for vacant positions—contributed by AIR members—were used to create a draft typology of IR work tasks. A total of 1,451 IR-related tasks were shared with AIR members in a survey format to determine the relevance of the tasks and the frequency with which the tasks are done, and to identify who does the work entailed with the tasks.

The first in-depth exploration of the data from this study focused on the tasks relevant to the work of senior IR and senior institutional effectiveness (IE) leaders. The intent of the high-level review of one segment of the survey data was to provide an example of the rich information available in this vast data set.

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