Completion and Response Rates of UC Surveys

In the past decade, online surveys have become increasingly popular among survey researchers. Regardless of the survey type, it is important for every survey to obtain a reasonable response rate. Having a good response rate as well as sample representativeness is critical for producing generalizable results. In general, surveys with a high response rate provide plentiful samples for examining subgroups. For sample surveys, having a high response rate decreases the margin of error for subpopulations. The response rate can be influenced by many different factors including brand recognition, modes of survey distribution, incentives, marketing strategies, motivation level of the population, etc. There is not a simple answer about an ‘acceptable’ response rate. In 2016, campus response rates for UC Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) ranged from 25% to 43% with an average of 33%. For comparison, the average response rate for 2016 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) was 21% for the 25 Research I Carnegie Classification Institutions. Graduate student surveys generally have a higher response rate.

This dashboard presents completion and response rates of UC systemwide surveys. Completion rate refers to the percentage of students in the survey population who at least responded to one survey item and clicked “submit” button at the conclusion of the survey. This does not mean that all questions were answered; any item in the survey can be skipped, allowing the respondents to proceed to the next page without responding. Response rate refers to the percentage of students in the survey population who responded to the survey. This includes students who at least responded to one item and submitted the survey (completes), and those who at least responded to one item but did not submit (partials). Students who only agreed on the survey consent form but did not answer any of the survey questions were removed from the respondents. The “Notes” tab provides detailed information for the methodologies.