ERIC Number: ED355895
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
Critique of a Method for Surveying Employers. AIR Professional File.
AIR Professional File, n47 Win 1993
In 1989, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, brought together six diverse public institutions in Tennessee to study the implications of the quality improvement methods of Edwards Deming and others for their own assessment programs. Later, five of these institutions--a technical institute, a community college, a comprehensive university, a doctorate-granting institution, and the state's land-grant and research university--built upon an alumni survey program to develop a method for surveying the employers of graduates responding to this survey. This paper provides both a description and a critique of this method. In spring 1990, each institution sent alumni surveys to its 1987-88 graduates, following up with a letter to each employed respondent requesting permission to mail a questionnaire to his/her supervisor. On receiving permission, the employer questionnaire was sent to the supervisor with a copy of the graduate's signed permission statement. Data on employers' opinions concerning the importance of various aspects of the graduate's education and performance were summarized for all participating institutions. Results indicated that the study produced an employer survey capable of serving the interests of two- and four-year institutions and for attracting a high rate of return on the part of employers. The methodology also incorporated an alumni questionnaire that contributed important information about alumni background characteristics and college experiences. However, relatively few alumni gave permission for subsequent contact with employers, and findings of the employer survey were so positive that they appear to be systematically biased and suggest questions of survey utility. Study experience suggests that no matter how good the questionnaire, this methodology has inherent problems. (Contains 34 references.) (JB)
Descriptors: Alumni, Education Work Relationship, Employer Attitudes, Employer Employee Relationship, Employers, Graduate Surveys, Higher Education, Individual Characteristics, Outcomes of Education, Questionnaires, Research Methodology
Association for Institutional Research, 314 Stone Bldg., Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association for Institutional Research.