A major logistical and research design benefit of NSSE is our third-party survey administration whereby NSSE sends institution-customized survey invitation messages directly to students.
Recruitment method—either Email or Regular Mail—refers to how NSSE manages all student invitations and reminder messages. Email recruitment includes five electronic email messages containing individualized links allowing students to log into the survey with one click. Regular Mail recruitment includes three contacts via United States Postal Service (USPS), including two letters and a postcard containing log in information to access the survey online. If Regular Mail institutions provide email addresses, NSSE will also send two email reminders to nonrespondents following the three USPS contacts. Institutions using either recruitment method may send up to two additional recruitment messages on their own using NSSE’s IRB-approved message template.
Email recruitment is strongly recommended since it provides a census administration of all first-year and senior students, as well as provides students the opportunity to log in to complete the survey immediately. Regular Mail recruitment is a very good choice for institutions that cannot reliably communicate with their student body by email. The table below summarizes details for both recruitment methods.
Posting Survey Links to Student Portals/Learning Management Systems
In addition to these recruitment methods, institutions may post unique survey links to their student portal and/or learning management systems, such as Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle. See examples of how survey links have been posted at various institutions here. Institutions may also encourage survey participation by directing students to nssesurvey.org; students enter their email address and access the survey following a quick verification process.
|Summary of NSSE Recruitment—Email or Regular Mail|
|Institutional Considerations||Email addresses are accurate and readily available. All first-year and senior students contacted, unless a random sample requested.||Local addresses are accurate and readily available; email addresses are not reliable. Random sample taken based on undergraduate enrollment.|
|Invitation||Customized email messages are sent to all first-year and senior students.||Customized letters sent to random sample via USPS. Students given instructions to complete the survey online.|
|Reminder 1||Nonrespondents receive customized emails.||Nonrespondents receive a customized reminder letter.|
|Reminder 2||Nonrespondents receive customized emails.||Nonrespondents receive a customized postcard. This is the final contact if no email addresses provided.|
|Reminder 3||Nonrespondents receive customized emails.||Nonrespondents receive customized emails, if addresses provided.|
|Final Reminder||Nonrespondents receive customized emails.||Nonrespondents receive final customized email, if addresses provided.|