FAQs and Helpful Tools


This section of our site is dedicated to supplementing the data collection, curation, and analytical needs of our campus community.  Located on the left will be helpful links to resources allowing users to do the following more efficiently when interacting with data on this site or within their own context:

  • Request data either through the administration of a survey -or- that has already been collected by the Office of Institutional Research
  • Answer common questions regarding institutional data collection, data sharing and confidentiality, and commonly used terminology
  • Explore the resources and content provided by peer institutions within a variety of campus settings and departments
  • Download templates and syntax files pertinent to solving common data analysis issues
  • Understand common statistical tests and their usage in small-scale and large-scale analyses
  • Enhance skills necessary for commonly used data analysis and reporting platforms


Where can I find updated enrollment data on undergraduate and graduate students?

Enrollment data can found either through following the link here, or by visiting the website of the Office of the Registrar.

Where can I find completions data on undergraduate and graduate students by academic program?

Completions data, submitted on an annual basis to IPEDS (Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System) can be found by following this link, or by visiting the website of the Office of the Registrar.

Does Princeton University release course data by race/ethnicity?

To protect the confidentiality of individuals, the University does not release course data by race/ethnicity due to small cell sizes.

Is there a minimum number of individual students in a cell needed to report across various demographics?

The Office of Institutional Research recommends that cell sizes less than (5) individuals should be suppressed to protect the confidentiality of students and employees across various different demographics.  Examples of this can be found in the Diversity Data tables located on this site.

Are counts located in data tables on the site unduplicated headcounts of students and employees?

Counts presented in reference to enrollment, completions, and diversity data are unduplicated headcounts of Princeton University students and employees.

What is the so-called “Hispanic trumping” rule in reference to Race/Ethnicity as reported to the federal government?

In academic year 2009-2010, Princeton implemented current U.S. Department of Education regulation governing the collection, storage, and reporting data on citizenship status, ethnicity and race.  Under the current regulation these data are collected using three questions: 1) citizenship status, 2) Hispanic ethnicity, and 3) race.  While under this protocol individuals self-identify in multiple categories, the data must be reported to the U.S. Department of Education with each individual counted in a single category.  Individuals who are U.S. citizens or hold a permanent resident visa (Green Card) and identify as Hispanic, regardless of their response the race question, are reported as Hispanic.

What is the definition for underrepresented minorities?

There are various definitions for underrepresented minorities depending on the institution or organization.  One commonly used definition is that underrepresented minorities included U.S. persons who identify as Black, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, or who have a multi-racial identity that includes at least one of those categories.

When are University enrollment data updated for the current academic year?

In concert with the creation of the Office of the Registrar’s Fall Opening Enrollment Report, student data are updated for the current academic year in October.  Similarly, the Princeton University Information Warehouse runs a census file for the current academic year in November.

How do I know if it is permissible to share the data the Office of Institutional Research has provided to me with colleagues both within and outside my program/department?

We would ask you to please consult the Office of Institutional Research Data Reporting Guidelines which provide details and examples of the taxonomy of student/employee data and how this hierarchy dictates data sharing.  Additionally, both the local state government and federal government provide insight into proper data sharing and confidentiality rules via their own policies.

Where can I find more information on the university’s metadata?

At Princeton, the Center for Data, Analytics and Reporting (C.E.D.A.R) has been tasked with developing a software tool that will categorize and house the metadata for a variety of data systems used across the institution.  These meta-data are the business definitions and descriptions of the data that resides in various source systems used for regular reporting at the University.

Additionally, background on data fields and more information on data security can also be found by visiting the Information Security Office webpage.

Where can I find an annual calendar of survey projects run by the Office of Institutional Research?

The Office of Institutional Research will regularly update the Survey Calendar tool to reflect annual, semi-annual and ad-hoc surveys for the current academic year.  Some of the more consistent annual surveys located here may also contain links to the survey instrumentation.

Is there a location to explore peer institutions websites and data resources?

The AAUDE (American Association of Universities Data Exchange) provides a tool for exploring participating peer institution websites to retrieve a variety of information quickly and efficiently.  This Tableau viz of AAUDE Institutional Links provides an easier access point to visit these webpages.

About how long does a survey project generally take from planning to reporting?

This amount of time can vary depending on the scope of the project, its target population, and expected final products.  Generally, the Office of Institutional Research seeks to hold a series of planning meetings with the stakeholders interested in data collection to gather information on project purpose, instrumentation, audience, and timeline.  After testing the survey instrument-and distribution, the results will be presented as time allows or is needed for informed decision making.

Where do I go to make a survey project and/or data request to the Office of Institutional Research?

Under the “FAQ’s and Helpful Tools” tab on our website, the Institutional Research Data Request intake form will allow you to customize your request to the office based on several parameters. 

What types of information should I prepare when planning a survey research project and/or data request?

It makes the process of planning a survey more efficient to prepare materials that address the following:

  1. Is this something a survey will be able to capture?
  2. What is your timeline for collection and reporting?
  3. Are your survey questions rooted in central research goals/objectives?
  4. Who is your target population? Do you have data to support this decision?
  5. Do you plan on making this an annual/semi-annual collection?

Are surveys at Princeton University confidential?

Princeton University surveys are typically confidential, and are completely voluntary whereby respondents have the choice to skip questions they are not inclined to answer.  For more information, please visit the Survey Administration section of our website.

What does the data collection conducted by the Office of Institutional Research support?

Information collected during survey administration or by other means greatly assists the planning processes behind many university services and programs offered to students, faculty, and staff and frames strategic planning in the longer term.

Which other offices on campus also collect and provide data on students, faculty, and staff?

There are several offices on campus that collect data on Princeton University students, faculty, and staff and all have separate and vital reporting responsibilities.  You may find data on these stakeholders by visiting:

The Office of the Registrar

The Office of Admissions

The Dean of the Faculty

The Office of the Dean of the College

The Graduate School

Human Resources

What types of external consortia does Princeton University report its student and faculty data to?

The Office of Institutional Research, in conjunction with several offices on campus including but not limited to The Office of the Registrar, The Dean of the Faculty, and Human Resources contribute data to consortia which facilitate the sharing of information on students, faculty, and staff at peer institutions.  For more information on peer-data sharing, please consult our External Data page.

Where can I find the most common annual survey questionnaires used at Princeton?

Regularly scheduled annual surveys that support both short and long term strategic planning are located in the Survey Questionnaires tab under Survey Data on our website.  These are provided as an additional supplement to data reports shared with departments and programs across the campus community.

Where can I find annual reports submitted to support decision making and strategic planning? 

Presentations and reports that are annually submitted by departments across the institution to support higher level decision making are located under the University Factbook tab.

Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Institutional Research.