Student Population Inferences Through a Scientific Sample

The NCCS uses a sample survey approach rather than a census of all students.  A randomly selected sample of students (undergraduates and graduates) allows the study to make inferences to the population as a whole; helps focus finite research resources on successfully contacting and encouraging the participation of the broadest group of students; and reduces survey burden on an often over-surveyed population.

Measure Timeframes That Provide a Foundation For Future Study

The NCCS uses "Past 12 months" as its standard timeframe for most all measures collected.  This allows for cohort comparison (based on year in school), and is most helpful in identifying changes over time with a given school experience.  The "Past 12 months" measure also allows for better comparison to other data sources (such as institutions reports, national survey data, etc.).

To ensure compatibility with other measures used, the NCCS also captures "since enrollment" and "lifetime" versions of most measures as well.

An Effort to Understand Nonresponse Bias & Effective Use of Responsive Design

The NCCS will request sample data from your registrar (i.e. gender, race/ethnicity, year in school, on/off campus residence) in addition to contact information.  This individual level data will allow for nonresponse analyses to be conducted, and in the Tier 3 level of service, it will provide a base generating an effective responsive design. If deemed appropriate, the NCCS may generate nonresponse bias weights for the final analytic data file.

A Tested and Tailored Methodologically Sound Web-based Survey

The NCCS will be implemented as a web-based, mobile-optimized survey, to ensure the data collected is of highest quality. Logical branching and filters will be used to tailor the questionnaire appropriately for each individual. Data collection will include at least four email contacts, and may include mailed pre-notification letters, telephone calls, and in-person visits (depending on the service level selected). Spring data collections will be administered between January and April.  On a limited basis, Fall data collections may also be available for collections between late September and early December.