Research Practices Survey

HEDS Research Practices Survey

The HEDS Research Practices Survey assesses students’ research experiences and their skills in finding, evaluating, and citing sources. Over 100 colleges and universities have used the HEDS Research Practices Survey since 2008.

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 finding sources, using information from sources, and citing sources. The second section of the HEDS Research Practices Survey, “Familiarity with Research Terms and Strategies,” tests students’ knowledge in three areas of research skills: finding sources, evaluating sources, and citing sources.

Depending on how institutions administer the HEDS Research Practices Survey, they can use the results to assess:

  • Entering first-year students’ research skills and precollege research experiences.
  • First-year students’ research skills and experiences after one year of college.
  • Senior students’ research skills and experiences after four years of college.
  • Students’ growth in research skills over time.
  • Students’ research skills and experiences compared with those of students at other institutions.

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.

Click on the following questions to learn more.

All institutions will receive:

  • 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 students’ responses to those of students from the same class year(s) at all other participating institutions.
  • Skills report that shows your students’ performance on questions that assess how well they apply research terms and strategies.
  • SPSS and Microsoft Excel file with your participants’ responses.

Institutions in HEDS can also request a post-survey phone consultation with a member of the HEDS staff about your institution’s survey data and an SPSS and/or Microsoft Excel file with student-level data from HEDS institutions that participated in the last few years.

YES!  Here’s how:

  • We insert your institution’s name at the top of each page of the survey
  • You can add supplemental questions at the end of the survey
  • You can customize the survey invitations and reminders

The base cost of a single administration of the survey is $500 for institutions in HEDS and $2,000 for institutions not in HEDS. There are some custom options for additional fees.

To learn more about becoming a HEDS member, please visit our Join HEDS page.

Greg Anderson, Armstrong State University

“We use the HEDS Research Practices Survey as one measure of assessment for the information literacy learning objectives of our First Year Seminar course. We use our initial administration at the beginning of the fall 2013 semester as our benchmark and compare each end of semester administration results to that original beginning of semester benchmark.  We also look for patterns in results of certain questions and question types to help guide faculty and librarians toward course objectives both on a macro level and an individual instructor basis.”


Andrew Dudash, Juniata College

“The HEDS Research Practices Survey helps us identify areas of improvement for our incoming first-year students. When those students come to the library as part of their required self-paced course, we are able to use the survey results to dictate the additional materials we will assign to students and the content to include for their online modules.”


Edith List, Principia College

“We use the HEDS Research Practices Survey to measure information literacy development through our First Year Experience Program. Faculty members meet with librarians, and they can use the survey data to help structure the integrated learning course based on the areas where students show need for improvement.”

Please email or call Jessica Deemer at (765)361-5771 with any questions.

Please contact Jessica Deemer with any questions.

Call 1-765-361-5571 Email