The University of Texas at Austin

Qualtrics Survey Tool Receives Common Good Funding

January 17, 2014

In December 2013, the Operational Information Technology (OIT) committee endorsed the Architecture and Infrastructure (AIC) committee’s recommendation that Qualtrics - the preferred and secure tool for conducting surveys at UT Austin – be approved for common good funding for this fiscal year.

Qualtrics is a cloud-based survey service which enables the creation and distribution of a wide variety of survey types, and is now available to the University community at no additional charge.

The Qualtrics story is an outstanding example of people on campus banding together via IT governance to bring IT improvements to the entire University. "Survey Station," a custom developed tool, needed to be retired for a number of reasons, and "Survey Monkey" does not support the requirements of a large research university like UT Austin.

A core group of 18 campus units voluntarily funded Qualtrics last fiscal year for use by all students, faculty and staff, while the University gained a better understanding of how the service would be used and what support requirements were needed. A steering committee from the contributing units, including Information Technology Services (ITS), provided operational guidance. And the agreement with Qualtrics was that after this initial one-year term, the subscription be renewable for up to three, one-year terms at a firm price.

Those using Qualtrics report positive experiences, citing many benefits not found with other online survey tools. For example, Qualtrics is approved for sensitive (Category I) data including HIPAA, FERPA, and IRB and meets rigorous information security requirements. Qualtrics can also handle complex as well as simple survey designs. Studies including randomization, embedded, and longitudinal data are possible as is the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data. Qualtrics offers quality control features, such as preventing a single user from making multiple submissions. It is web-based, user-friendly and provides guidance to ensure that surveys are accessible. Summary statistics from the first year of use are impressive:

  • 222,548 auditable responses
  • 4,410 new surveys created
  • 1,776 survey authors

So in November 2013, the AIC recommended that Qualtrics be renewed and receive common good funding, and the OIT endorsed this proposal. ITS monies were freed up for Qualtrics because the OIT approved the retirement of one aging ITS service last year, and there was a reduction in mainframe printing and associated costs. Common good funding is fixed, so this is a great example of IT governance reprioritizing funding to maximize the benefit of IT on campus.

Valuable online Qualtrics HELP is available. To learn more please visit the Qualtric Survey Tool website.

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