Survey samples and student data

All faculty, staff, and students intending to survey members of the UWL community (students, faculty, and staff) or need student data to conduct research should review and abide by protocols established by the UWL Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Even if a researcher believes that their project is exempt from IRB protocol, Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning will request proof of exemption or approval prior to filling requests for data.

Gender and racial/ethnic background of students is FERPA protected information. As such, Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning cannot fill requests for data based on these characteristics without informed consent of the students to be surveyed. Even if a project has IRB approval or exemption, IRAP is bound by this obligation. In these instances, we recommend considering alternative methods for reaching these specific populations, such as working through appropriate student organizations.

If you are working on a survey or project and have questions about ways to phrase demographic questions about gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, first-generation status, income status, or military status, please consult this guide for examples of possible item phrasing.

By submitting a request, you agree to:

  • Use the information only for the purposes of the identified research project. Any other use of the information requires additional approval from the IRB.
  • Ensure no one outside the research team has access to the data. This includes discussing confidential information in a place where such discussion might be overheard. Neither should confidential information be discusses in a way that would allow an authorized person to associate (either correctly or incorrectly) an identity with such data. 
  • Report data and results in aggregate tables and charts. If aggregate data contains cells with headcounts of five or fewer, please contact IRAP for assistance in displaying this data.
  • Delete the data at the conclusion of this project or one year from the date of receiving the data. Student researchers shall delete the data a the completion of the requirements for the course.

Steps for requesting data

  1. All requests - including those for email lists for in-class surveys - must be made by the supervising UWL faculty or staff member.
  2. Requests must be made through the Data Request Form linked below.
  3. Researchers are encouraged to review the FERPA guidelines to inform research design when considering samples of specific populations. IRAP can assist with strategies including stratified sampling, proportionate sampling, or work with service units on campus to help deliver the survey to the population of interest without disclosing the personally identifiable information (PII) of the students in the population.
  4. IRB exemption or approval must be attached or referenced within the data request.
  5. The data will be returned to the requester in an Excel file unless requested in a different format. IRAP will disclose the minimum amount of information necessary to fill the request in order to protect PII and expand the population available to the researcher for sampling. Even with these precautions taken, the data in its raw format should be considered sensitive information.

Due to the volume of requests, it may take us up to 10 business days to respond to your request.

Click on the button below. Our data request form is hosted by ITS; you will need to log into the Help Desk with your NetID account. You will then need to select Institutional Research Data Request from the Request Type drop-down menu.

Please complete all the fields in the online form. The form will time-out after 10 minutes. After you click "submit," we will receive the request, and a confirmation email will be sent to your UWL email address shortly thereafter.

If you have any questions, please contact Grace Engen in the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning.