Exploring the Role of Institutional Research in Graduate and Professional Education

Research and Data

Exploring the Role

A small study to learn more about the interactions between the institutional research community and graduate and professional schools.

 


Background

AccessLex Institute, with support from the Association for Institutional Research, undertook a small study to learn more about the interactions between the institutional research community and graduate and professional schools. Specifically, the AccessLex sought to understand the role and placement of institutional researchers within the context of graduate and professional education, as well as the type of studies institutional researchers conduct on behalf of graduate and professional programs.

Methodology

The Association for Institutional Research drafted and fielded a short survey to a random sample of its members on behalf of the Center, resulting in a total of 500 survey invitations. The survey was designed to answer two main research questions:

  1. For institutions with graduate and/or professional units, how many of those units have their own institutional research (IR) function?
  2. What types of institutional research studies are conducted and by whom—the IR office, the graduate/professional units, both, or another office?

For the latter question, the survey asked about the following types of studies:
chart 1

Survey Respondents

Of the 500 Association for Institutional Research members who were invited to participate in the survey, 149 responded—a response rate of approximately 30 percent. Of those respondents, 110 reported working at an institution offering graduate and/or professional education and were, therefore, eligible to complete the remaining survey items. A total of 77 eligible respondents continued the survey beyond the first question, with all 77 respondents answering items specific to master’s/doctoral programs, and 48 respondents completing items about professional schools.