Student Surveys Sometimes Work, Survey Says

Springtime is for flowers, allergies and an email inbox full of surveys. The emails typically read, “Senior Student Needs Your Help,” and ask students to fill out surveys to help collect data for capstone projects and senior theses. Verna McKinnon-Hipps, the communications department administrative assistant, said that she has only received around six this spring and only handles those for the communications department students. “Spring is definitely the time when I get the most students asking me to mass email the communications department,” McKinnon-Hipps said. “I do get a variety of requests throughout the year, but it seems most seniors take their research seminar during the spring and I tend to get many more emails during this time.” She said that typically the students do not directly reply to her but sometimes responders do get confused and email her questions. Many students are guilty of not even opening these emails, much less filling out the surveys. “I think I have only done around three surveys and I feel really guilty that I have not responded to more,” said senior Sarah Sweeney. Sweeney is

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also sending these surveys out right now and has only gotten around 30 responses when she would like around 50. “I think that people just get so many emails and either forget to respond or just don’t want to,” Sweeney said. “Although I really like how easy it is to create these surveys. You can make true false, charts, polls, yes or no and customize the information you want.” Many undergraduate students told The Spectator they do not respond to these surveys. The question, then is, is this a good way to gather data? Sweeney said that she thinks it is still valuable because of the variety of information she can ask about through her survey. Another senior, Scarlet Yim, said no, these emailed surveys are not valuable because she has received hardly any responses. Facebook, however, might be more reliable. “I first put my survey out on Facebook and got over 30 responses in just a few days,” said Yim. “Then I put it out through the email blast and barely got 20 responses. I do not think that email is the best way to gather data because through my Facebook, I got so many more responses. I also think that people on Facebook are more willing to do it because through our email we get so flooded by these surveys and on Facebook we are not expecting to be asked.” Another senior, Qiuyi Xu, said the email survey helps with variety if you are able to circulate it through various departments. “I think that is a really good way to get data,” Xu said. “Even though I am a communication student, I didn’t want my survey to go just to the other communication students. I really wanted a variety of responses. I went to the offices of the other departments like the Albers School of Business and asked permission to mass email their students. I now have over one-hundred responses from my survey and some great data.” Even though many students haven’t felt like they are getting the numbers they wanted, they did tell The Spectator that the responses, though limited, gave valuable information. The answers were still helpful to collect data, though the final project would be stronger with more information. “I think to make your survey successful you have to think about what questions you’re going to ask,” Sweeney said. “You have to keep them short and to the point, so that the students finish the survey. That’s why I liked how customized I could make it.” As the seniors grow closer to making their college degree a reality, they are realizing that they can’t do it alone. Some of the students that choose to take a class where surveys are required as a final project need help from the Seattle U community. Hopefully after hearing how more responses and data can really make a difference, students will think twice about not responding to their emails. Who knows, one day you might be in their shoes, needing others to fill out your own survey.