Office of Institutional Research
The Office of Institutional Research (OIR) is an information source for many college
statistics, both academic and non-academic. The primary purpose of the department
is to systematically collect, maintain, analyze and report institutional information
for governmental and public reporting.
Another role of institutional research is to compare university information with other
institutions. Lastly, OIR is here to support college planning and decision-making.
This office assists any department within the institution with ad-hoc requests for
information and is a central contact for submitting data to federal, state, and local
governmental agencies, as well as commercial agencies. The OIR should be an early
and central contact for planning and decision-making data.
The Mission of OIR is to serve as the foremost and official source of institutional
information for the college community and relevant decision-makers in their commitment
for continuous review, evaluation, and improvement in teaching, administrative and
operational activities. This mission is supported by facilitating a stimulating and
nurturing institutional research and assessment environment that provides decision-makers
at all levels of the institution with meaningful data and information on analytical
studies of important policies and issues facing the college, as well as data facts
and comparative trends useful to enrich the quality of higher education.
What is Institutional Research?
Institutional Research is the process of coordinating, collecting, organizing, and
disseminating all necessary information in regard to the characteristics and performance
of the institution.
Institutional research provides objective and systematic research in support of the
institution’s goals. The primary purpose of our office is to collect, analyze, and
interpret institutional data and information to assist leaders with university planning
and decision making. Data is collected and maintained for all aspects of the institution,
including, but not limited to, students, staff, programs, administration, and operations.
The office is engaged in ongoing data collection, analysis and distribution, resulting
in official college statistics to satisfy both internal and external reporting needs;
design and implementation of internal studies related to students, personnel, facilities,
programs, services and fiscal resources; development of databases, via information
technology support, suitable for longitudinal studies and statistical analysis. OIR
also provides assistance in establishing outcome measures for accountability and other
related activities in support of college planning, evaluation, resource allocation
and decision-making. The information generated by the OIR can be applied in understanding,
interpreting, managing and evaluating the institution, and in making informed decisions
about current operations or future plans.
The Vision of OIR is to create a centralized repository of responsive data collection,
analysis and dissemination for internal decision-making and external reporting by
utilizing technological resources. In order to support the campus constituents in
achieving their stated goals and priorities of the college’s Strategic Plan, OIR is strongly committed to change and excellence through continuous improvement
of its functions, programs and support services.
The OIR assigns first priority to institutional research and reporting requirements
at the institutional level, then to colleges, departments and committees, as time
will allow. External regulatory requests that are mandatory for college compliance
by law also are given first priority following other external requests, as office
- To gather, compile and provide reliable, timely information for internal and external
- To monitor the college’s ongoing responsibilities for compliance with requests for
information from external agencies, both governmental and commercial, and assure accurate
and timely completion of necessary reports.
- To be the official source of comprehensive information about the institution.
- To serve as a repository/archive for institutional data.
- To provide information and analysis that is relevant and responsive to individuals
and departments in policy-making and decision-making activities.
- To provide technical and support assistance for research projects endorsed by the
- To serve in an advisory capacity to administrative functions related to institutional
- To maintain annual procedures for such things as data collection, reporting deadlines,
and project listings.
- To be a clearinghouse for survey instruments.
- To assist each department with data collection and analysis needs for accreditation
- To provide consultation services to faculty and students concerning research methods
and statistical analysis
(Messiah College - Institutional Research Office, 2003)