Journal article
(Original article)


The Causal Effect of Survey Mode on Students’ Evaluations of Teaching: Empirical Evidence from Three Field Experiments


Publication Details
Author(s): Treischl E, Wolbring T
Publication year: 2017
Volume: 58
Journal issue: 8
Pages range: 904–921
ISSN: 0361-0365
Language: English

Abstract

In recent years many universities switched from paper- to online-based student
evaluation of teaching (SET) without knowing the consequences for data quality. Based on
a series of three consecutive field experiments—a split-half design, twin courses, and pre–
post-measurements—this paper examines the effects of survey mode on SET. First, all
three studies reveal marked differences in non-response between online- and paper-based
SET and systematic, but small differences in the overall course ratings. On average, online
SET reveal a slightly less optimistic picture of teaching quality in students’ perception.
Similarly, a web survey mode does not impair the reliability of student ratings. Second, we
highlight the importance of taking selection and class absenteeism into account when
studying survey mode effects and also show that it is necessary and informative to survey
the subgroup of no-shows when evaluating teaching. Third, we empirically demonstrate the
need to account for contextual setting of the survey (in class vs. after class) and the specific
type of the online survey mode (TAN vs. email). Previous research either confounded
contextual setting with variation in survey mode or generalized results for a specific online
mode to web surveys in general. Our findings suggest that higher response rates in email
surveys can be achieved if students are given the opportunity and time to evaluate directly
in class.



How to cite
APA: Treischl, E., & Wolbring, T. (2017). The Causal Effect of Survey Mode on Students’ Evaluations of Teaching: Empirical Evidence from Three Field Experiments. Research in Higher Education, 58(8), 904–921. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11162-017-9452-4

MLA: Treischl, Edgar, and Tobias Wolbring. "The Causal Effect of Survey Mode on Students’ Evaluations of Teaching: Empirical Evidence from Three Field Experiments." Research in Higher Education 58.8 (2017): 904–921.

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