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Survey Resources

Best Practices

Digital accessibility is an important way to ensure university resources are available to the broadest possible audience. The MSU Digital Accessibility Policy establishes minimum standards to meet this commitment and helps ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations including the Americans with Disabilities Act.


The goal of this policy is to achieve digital accessibility proactively rather than reactively, and all digital surveys are required to be accessible. When creating surveys, please ensure you read the accessibility guidance for the survey software you’re using and follow it. It is much easier to make a survey accessible from the beginning than to fix it later.


If you’re building a survey using Qualtrics, their Survey Accessibility page can tell you everything you need to know to make an accessible survey. It defines the set of accessible Qualtrics fields, describes how to use the “Check survey accessibility” tool, and provides additional accessibility tips. At the time of this writing, the following fields in Qualtrics are considered accessible:

At the time of this writing, the following fields in Qualtrics are not considered accessible:

Promising Practices for Collecting and Managing Names, Gender, Pronouns, Honorifics, and Sexual Identities


Suggested Text to Include on Surveys

All Information shared in this survey is subject to the MSU mandatory reporting policy.

We need to make you aware of potential exceptions to confidentiality. As university employees, researchers may not be able to maintain as confidential suspected child abuse, child neglect, vulnerable adult abuse or neglect, relationship violence, sexual misconduct, stalking, retaliation, discrimination, or harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, height, weight, marital status, or disability that is related to the University community, or an immediate threat to yourself others. If you disclose this type of information, we may need to report it to the MSU Office for Civil Rights and/or the Department of Police and Public Safety.

If you would like to report an incident to the University, you are able to do so by contacting the MSU Office for Civil Rights. (OCR) via the Public Incident Reporting Form or by calling OCR at (517) 353-3922. The University will respond promptly, including by offering supportive measures, informing parties about the available complaint and investigation processes, and taking reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct discrimination or harassment. For additional information, please review MSU’s Notice of Non-discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Non-Retaliation.

If you would like to discuss options for sharing information in a confidential manner or need other support, please review community, state, and national resources compiled by the Prevention, Outreach, and Education office:

MSU’s Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) office provides 24/7 crisis services. To speak with a crisis counselor, call 517-355-8270 and press ‘1’ at the prompt. You will be connected to a confidential, no-charge counselor available to assist you with connecting to a variety of services and resources.

Please visit for additional mental health information and resources.

If you believe you or someone around you is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call or text 988
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
  • Community Mental Health of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties
    • Walk-in or 24/7 Crisis Services: 517-346-8460
  • MSU Center for Survivors Sexual Assault 24/7Crisis Hotline: 517-372-6666
  • Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
  • Trevor Project: 866-488-7386 or text 678-678
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); Text “START” to 88788
  • MSU is a proud partner of ThrivingCampus, an online platform that makes it easier for you to connect with off-campus mental health care and well-being services.
    • Browse and filter providers based on your needs and preferences
    • Get answers to common questions
    • Reach out to community providers and connect with mental health care and other services to support your well-being.
Any information that is obtained in connection with this survey and that can identify you will remain confidential, except that we may tell the appropriate individuals if your responses indicate a threat of harm to you or others; if you give your permission for us to give someone your information; or if disclosure is required by law.
Sample Survey Text

Hi <Name>:

Thank you for taking time to complete the <Survey Name>. We want to hear from you!

Your feedback will provide us with valuable information about your <Survey Topic> and help us provide you with the best experience possible. Please remember to complete the survey by <Date> so you can be automatically entered into a drawing for $xx in <type>. There will be xx winners.

Your thoughts and feedback are important to us.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. This survey is designed to help us gain a better understanding <Survey Topic>. It explores the following areas:

  • Topic 1
  • Topic 2
  • Topic 3

The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete and will close at <date>.

In responding to the survey questions, it is important to note the following definitions:

  • Field 1: Field one description and values.
  • Field 2: Field two description and values.
  • Field 3: Field three description and values.

Your responses will be kept strictly confidential and will be summarized and presented in the aggregate so that no single individual or small subgroup of respondents can be identified. However, there are certain times that we are required by law or Michigan State University policies (e.g., if someone reported sexual assault/harassment) where we may have to share some data with the appropriate authorities.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. Your responses will provide us with valuable feedback as we continue to <focus of the survey>.

Hi <Name>:

Thank you for taking our <Survey Name>

We will use the information you share with us to improve your campus experience.

We hope that you feel comfortable completing the survey; however, if you wish to speak with a confidential, neutral, independent, and informal resource in place of completing the survey about concerns and issues that you have faced at Michigan State University, please contact the Office of the University Ombudsperson: This survey is required to uphold the values of mandated reporting as it relates to Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy.

If you have any questions, please contact <name> at <email>

Study Title: <title>

Researchers and Titles: <name(s)>

Department and Institution: <department and institution>

Contact Information: <address>

Sponsor: <survey sponsor>

You are being asked to participate in a research study. Researchers are required to provide a consent form to inform you about the research study, to convey that participation is voluntary, to explain risks and benefits of participation including why you might or might not want to participate, and to empower you to make an informed decision. You should feel free to discuss and ask the researchers any questions you may have.

The goal of the <Survey Name> is to support the development of an actionable, data informed plan, that will assess existing and unmet needs across the university; to <goal of survey>. We hypothesize that the <Survey Name> will have a positive impact on the awareness of the current resources and services and guide the development of future resources and services.

You will be asked a series of Likert questions about your <survey purpose> and asked to rate your level of agreement with each statement. If you choose not to have your responses shared, there will be no penalty, and your responses will only be used for program improvement and not shared with researchers. Sharing your responses is voluntary, there will be no consequences for not sharing, and you can stop at any time or skip any questions that you prefer not to answer.

Potential benefits to participants include improved awareness of the current <survey topic>; assist with mitigating negative events with the most impactful consequences, evaluate and monitor the <survey purpose> over time, and preparation for future concerns.

There are no foreseeable risks to completing the survey and responses should not result in risk of criminal or civil liability. All information shared is subject to the MSU mandatory reporting policy.