The AIR Professional File
Fall 2016, Article 138

An Alternative Approach: Using Panels to Survey College Students

Shimon A. Sarraf, Sarah Hurtado, Mark Houlemarde, Xiaolin Wang


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Eight short surveys based on select items from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) were administered to approximately five hundred students over a nine-week period at five diverse colleges and universities. The goal of the experiment was to investigate what impact a survey panel data collection approach would have on recruitment, survey data quality indicators, and scale properties. Results indicated higher response rates, shorter survey duration, and minimal impact on scale factor structures. However, both cost of incentives and panel member attrition make this alternative survey method less attractive than it would be otherwise.



This paper was adapted from a longer paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Institutional Research in Denver, Colorado, May 2015.


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Shimon A. Sarraf, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research

Sarah Hurtado, Indiana University

Mark Houlemarde, Indiana University

Xiaolin Wang, Indiana University


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