The HEDS Research Practices Survey assesses the extent to which college students can apply their information literacy skills to the practice of scholarly research. It asks students about their research experiences and assesses their skills in finding, evaluating, and citing sources. Over 80 colleges and universities have used the HEDS Research Practices Survey since 2008. (Download a print version of the information about the 2016–2017 HEDS Research Practices Survey.)
The HEDS Research Practices Survey consists of two sections. The first section of the survey, “Perceptions of Research,” measures students’ experiences with research and the degree to which they experience difficulty in:
The second section of the HEDS Research Practices Survey, “Familiarity with Research Terms and Strategies,” tests students’ knowledge in three areas of research skills:
Depending on how institutions administer the HEDS Research Practices Survey, they can use the results to assess:
Faculty and librarians can use information from this survey to develop pedagogies and materials to advance students’ research skills. The survey only takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Survey Administration Periods
You may select either a single or a longitudinal administration of the HEDS Research Practices Survey. The standard administration period is 3–6 weeks. We list the 2015–2016 schedule for single and longitudinal administrations of the survey below.
|Administration periods||Purpose||Administration duration||Earliest possible start date||Must be completed by|
|Beginning of first term||Measure entering first-year students’ research experiences and skills||3–6 weeks||August 1, 2016||End of the third week of the first term|
|End of spring term||Measure first-year students’ or seniors’ research experiences and skills after their first year or 4 years of college||3–6 weeks||Six weeks prior to the last day of spring classes||Two weeks after the last day of spring classes|
You can opt to conduct a single 3–6 week administration of the HEDS Research Practices Survey outside of these standard administration periods, however, we cannot provide comparative data for nonstandard administration periods. If you are interested in a nonstandard administration, please contact us to learn more about what this administration option entails.
|Administration periods||Purpose||Administration logistics|
Measure growth in research skills in the first term of college.
This approach is especially helpful for institutions that have a first-term course for entering students with a research or information literacy component.
|First-year longitudinal||Measure growth in research skills over the first year of college||1st administration
|Four-year longitudinal||Measure growth in research skills over 4 years of college||1st administration
In the second administration of a longitudinal study, you may survey students who did not respond to the first survey; however, our longitudinal reports will include only students who responded to both surveys.
For an additional fee, you can select more than one administration method. To ensure consistency in the administration process and the integrity of the comparative data, we do not allow institutions to administer any HEDS survey through their own survey engines.
Reports and Data Files
|Standard single administration reports and data files||HEDS institutions||Institutions not in HEDS|
|Summary reports that compare your students to students at (1) all other participating institutions and (2) the highest scoring institutions on key indicators in the HEDS Research Practices Survey.||✓||✓|
|Frequency report that compares your first-year students’ and/or seniors’ responses to those of students from the same class year(s) at all other participating institutions.||✓||✓|
|SPSS and/or Microsoft Excel file with your participants’ responses. (We will add values/labels to SPSS files.)||✓||✓|
|Interactive report that compares your students’ mean scores on the “Perceptions of Research” and “Familiarity with Research Terms and Strategies” sections to those of students at other HEDS institutions that have participated in the last few years. You can create customized comparison groups with this report.||✓|
|SPSS and/or Microsoft Excel file with student-level data from HEDS institutions that participated in the last few years. Institutional identifiers will be included in the file, but participants’ identifiers will be removed.||✓|
We will send institutions that participate in a longitudinal administration these same reports for each administration. We will also send them a data file that combines data from the first and second administrations along with a report detailing how their students changed over the course of the longitudinal administration.
We will send institutions that participate in a nonstandard administration a data file with their students’ responses, but due to the lack of comparative data, we cannot send any reports.
|HEDS institutions||Institutions not in HEDS|
|Base cost – single administration
|Base cost – longitudinal administration
($500 for 1st administration +
$500 for 2nd administration +
$300 fee for longitudinal report and data file)
($1,600 for 1st administration+
$1,600 for 2nd administration +
$300 fee for longitudinal report and data file)
|Using both the email and authentication administration methods||+ $250||+ $250|
|11 to 20 supplemental questions||+ $250||+ $250|
|Additional responses (after first 1,000 responses; count includes all administration methods, incomplete responses, and duplicate responses; invoiced after the survey closes)||+ $.50 per extra response||+ $.50 per extra response|
|Late registration fee (see explanation in registration section below)||+ $250||+ $250|
Other HEDS Research Practices Survey Information
Registering for the HEDS Research Practices Survey
You can register for the HEDS Research Practices Survey via the online registration form. At the time of registration, you may choose to pay with a credit card or receive an invoice and pay with a check. We send out invoices at the end of the month in which you register.
You must register at least 3 weeks prior to the date on which you plan to begin administering the survey. We will make decisions about accepting late registrations on a case-by-case basis. If we can accommodate a late registration, we will charge an additional $250 late fee. Institutions that participate longitudinally must register and pay separately for each administration.
HEDS Research Practices Survey Administration Contact
Please contact Adrea Hernandez ( or 765-361-6343) if you have any questions.