Obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Part 1: Submit Application for Institutional Review Board Exemption or Approval

In order to administer the MISO Survey on your campus you must obtain approval from your Institutional Review Board (IRB), a campus committee that oversees the use of human and animal subjects in research. This is a federal requirement for conducting research projects such as the MISO Survey. Research that has not received IRB approval cannot be published. Please note that your institution is the institution of record for the research being conducted at your institution, not Bryn Mawr College.

Although the deadline for submitting proof of IRB approval isn’t until November, you should begin the process of obtaining approval at once since it may take as long as several months to complete the process. Web-based surveys are generally approved by campus IRB committees, so this should not be a difficult process—just one that may take some time. Your IRB committee’s website probably contains instructions for seeking approval.

When applying for approval or exemption from your IRB, include the following information:


The MISO Survey is a web-based quantitative survey designed to measure how faculty, students, and staff view library and computing services in higher education. The MISO Survey addresses the following research questions:

  • What services and resources are important to our constituents, and how successfully do our organizations deliver them?
  • How effectively do we communicate with our campus communities about our services and resources?
  • How skilled are our constituents in the use of software and library databases? What additional skills do they wish to learn, and how do they wish to learn?
  • Which software and hardware tools do our constituents use, and which of these tools do they own?
  • What roles do our constituents play on campus? What demographic factors identify them?
  • What benchmarks can be established for excellent delivery of library and computing services?

Results of this study are presented in publications and at conferences by the MISO management team and participating institutions.


This study consists of a Web-based quantitative survey of faculty, students, and staff. Faculty, staff, and students at each participating institution will be invited to complete the survey. Either the entire population or a random sample of the population will be included, depending on the size of the population (see Sample Size Guidelines). Only individuals age 18 and older will be included in the sampling frames.

The MISO Survey research project is reviewed and approved each year by the Bryn Mawr College IRB, the host institution for the MISO Survey. Copies of the Bryn Mawr College IRB approval may be obtained upon request.

The survey is hosted by the Web based survey provider Qualtrics. Qualtrics is a private company whose methods of data collection, storage, and adherence to human subjects research protocols have been investigated and been approved by the IRB at Bryn Mawr College. All data is collected using secure connections and is stored in a password protected database. Only a subset of MISO administrators have access to the individual responses collected.

All participants must provide consent before beginning the survey. The consent form is delivered to each potential participant in the email message inviting him/her to participate in the research. The default consent language has been approved by Bryn Mawr College’s IRB. Any additional consent language required by a participating institution’s IRB may be pre-pended to the Survey instrument as a click-through page. No compensation will be given to any participants.

Faculty, staff, and students will be assured that the survey data will be confidential, though not necessarily anonymous. Each submitted survey will include the respondent’s identity so that we can send personalized invitations and reminder messages as well as identify patterns among the respondent groups. All data is reported in the aggregate.

The MISO Survey administrators will set up all survey instruments and will analyze the data. Following the close of the data collection period all collected data will reside on a secure server at Bryn Mawr College, where it is kept indefinitely. The data will only be accessible to MISO Survey administrators. No person associated either with Bryn Mawr College or the MISO Survey will report the data at the individual level.

Risk/Benefit Assessment

Participants experience no greater risk than ordinarily encountered by a normal person in daily life. Data is collected only via survey and responses to the survey will be confidential, though not necessarily anonymous. Participation is voluntary. Participants may withdraw from the research at any point.

Confidentiality & Consent

Data for the MISO Survey is collected via an online survey and participation by faculty, students, and staff is voluntary. No compensation will be given to anyone participating in the survey. Survey responses will be confidential, though not necessarily anonymous. Data from all participants will be reported in the aggregate. Each participating institution’s raw data will be supplied to its Campus Survey Administrator (CSA). Consent information is included in the invitation to participate in the survey.

Part 2: Submit Documentation of Institutional Review Board Exemption or Approval

Before the MISO Survey can be administered on your campus, you must provide documentation of either approval or an exemption from your IRB. This documentation will generally come in the form of a letter from your IRB’s chair. Please upload a PDF version of this letter to your institution’s MISO Survey Deliverables folder in Box.com when you receive it.