Holy Cross Student Survey

General Introduction
Fall 2001
Spring 2002
Fall 2002

Spring 2003

Fall 2003
Spring 2004
Fall 2004 / Spring 2005
Spring 2007
Spring 2008
Spring 2009

The Holy Cross Student Survey (HCSS) is a high-quality, structured, personal interview survey of Holy Cross students conducted by students enrolled in Methods of Social Research. Since the project began in fall 2001, eleven surveys have been carried out. This site provides information about the HCSS; for each survey, I describe the general purpose, sample, and the types of questions asked, and I present an overview of the findings. If you would like to see more detailed charts and tables, are interested in additional analyses, or would like to obtain a SPSS data file for any of the surveys, please contact Royce Singleton at rsinglet@holycross.edu.

General Introduction

The HCSS has a twofold purpose: to generate systematic data on the Holy Cross student body and to provide methods students with hands-on experience in conducting a personal interview survey.  Modeled after the General Social Survey (GSS), a well-known omnibus national survey, each HCSS has a series of questions on a special topic and a set of background, behavioral, and attitudinal items that are asked in successive surveys.  In contrast to the GSS, however, the bulk of the questions in the HCSS pertain to the topical focus:

The HCSS has several key design features.  First, it is structured: all respondents are asked the same questions in the same order, and nearly all questions have a fixed and limited set of response alternatives.  Second, many questions are drawn from existing surveys, including the GSS.  Third, the respondents are selected randomly from the entire student body.  Fourth, it is based on personal, or face-to-face, interviews.  Fifth, the interview generally takes between 15 and 20 minutes to complete.

Each of these features contributes to the goal of yielding reliable data on the attitudes and behaviors of Holy Cross students.  Using existing questions capitalizes on the efforts of other researchers to develop reliable questions.  Drawing a random sample provides a basis for calculating the margin of error, that is, the amount by which a sample estimate is likely to differ from the value for the entire population.  And using personal interviews and keeping the interview relatively short facilitate a high response rate, an important indicator of survey quality.

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