Non-Standard Student Surveys


The Student Surveys and Evaluations procedure sets out that collecting data from ANU students requires approval from the Director, Planning and Service Performance (PSP) before the survey can commence.  This approval ensures that: 
  • ANU students don’t receive too many surveys each year
  • important collections get priority
  • collections comply with ANU Policy and Procedure
  • lotteries and incentives comply with relevant laws. 
A project collecting information from ANU students may require only NSSS approval, or this may be only one of the approvals needed.  For example, Non-standard Student Survey might also need approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), like the ANU HREC.   

Non-standard Survey Approval Process

To determine if a student survey requires approval from the Director of PSP, please use the Non-standard Student Survey Approval Form.
  • The first part of the form consists of a self-assessment tool. When the applicant completes it, if the survey requires approval, the form will proceed with the NSSS approval request form. If no approval is required, you will be prompted to apply for an exemption from the NSSS approval process. If after completing the self-assessment tool you are still unsure about whether approval is needed, or for any further enquiries on Non-standard Student Surveys, please contact the Institutional Research Team.
  • Please be aware that: 
    • The Non-standard Student Survey application process requiresat least 20 working days for obtaining PSP approval. 
    • As part of the Non-standard Student Survey approval process, approval from other parts of ANU may be required. This can include approval from the delegated data custodian, ANU Privacy Office and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The approval request form provides more information on these other approvals. 

Non-standard Student Surveys

Non-standard Student Surveys include any survey, focus group or interview that seeks to collect data from an ANU student, and that is not on the Standard Survey list. This includes collections for academic, educational and/or institutional research purposes.

Standard Student Surveys

Standard University surveys include strategic surveys run by the government or peak bodies, such as the Australian Government’s Student Experience Survey (SES).  Standard University surveys also include official ANU strategic surveys approved by the Vice-Chancellor, or Deputy Vice-Chancellor(s), such as the Student Experience of Learning and Teaching survey (SELT). Standard Surveys are scheduled and run in specific periods throughout the year to ensure students have a good opportunity to participate in these important collections. You can see when these surveys are running on the Register of Approved Surveys and Calendar. 


Why is the Non-standard Student Survey approval process separate to the HREC process? 

Approval from the Director of Planning and Service Performance does different things to an approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). 
Approval from a HREC has assessed whether a collection complies with the National Statement on the Ethical Conduct of Human Research, which is external to ANU. 
Approval from the Director of Planning and Service Performance assesses how a collection fits with things internal to ANU, like other collections going on at ANU, as well as compliance with ANU Policy and Procedure.  For example, the approval process includes assessing when non-standard and standard surveys run, as well as ensuring collections comply with the ANU Privacy Policy and information security standards. 

How long does the approval process take? 

Applications must be submitted at least 20 working days prior to the anticipated survey date. Early consultation with PSP Institutional Research (IR) is recommended.  The IR team can advise on how to answer questions the Director of Planning and Service Performance asks on the form, as well as offering suggestions based on their experience collecting data from ANU students. More time may be required if endorsements are needed from other stakeholders (e.g., CISO, Privacy Officer, Registrar, Access and Inclusion, and/or Advancement).

What are the privacy considerations when surveying ANU students? 

Survey collections benefit from a Privacy Threshold Assessment (PTA) through the ANU Privacy Office, even if the project has been approved by a HREC. A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) may be required if identifiable personal information will be collected as part of the survey. More information on this is available at Access to student and staff personal information for surveys

What are the University’s survey blackout periods and what does that mean? 

The Semester 1 and 2 SELT survey windows are blackout periods.  You can find out when these blackout periods are using the SELT calendar or the Register of Approved Surveys Calendar. PSP does not approve any Non-standard Student Surveys to run during these windows to minimise survey burden on students.