The Institutional Research office plays a unique and important role in the higher education environment, especially with the increased focus on the use of student data in decision making. Most IR offices support a broad range of university planning initiatives, and assemble a variety of qualitative and quantitative reports to be used in decision making. These offices oftentimes also dually handle assessment of student learning, house university surveys, and provide vital research support to key stakeholders.

The Editorial staff of Mid-Western Educational Researcher, in collaboration with Guest Editor Tasha Almond-Dannenbring of the South Dakota Board of Regents, issues a call for manuscripts to be published in 2018 that will highlight Institutional Research and its role in higher education.

The Editors welcome manuscripts that explore an array of topics related, but not limited to, these themes or topics:

Research addressing:

  • Measurement and analysis of student-level data to inform policy and decision making in higher education.
  • Key institutional operating metrics used in planning, program review, or finance.

IR Office Practices:

  • Role of IR office in strategic planning.
  • Use of data visualization and business intelligence tools to translate data-heavy information into a manageable form.
  • Review of data warehousing/data marts – challenges and solutions for IR office.
  • Use of IR data and information to articulate strategic priorities and drive institutional change.
  • Use of data related to assessment of student learning to inform policy and decision making at the campus or system level (if multi-campus system).
  • Essays/commentaries on the evolution and practices of IR, and the IR office/position.
  • Use of mixed methods research to generate new information needed to inform policy and/or guide decision makers in planning.

Best Practices:

  • Best practices in IR for small, medium, and large colleges and start-up IR offices.
  • Best practices/examples of uses of Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data for benchmarking.
  • Best practices/use of data in measuring student learning outcomes, persistence, or retention.
  • Best practices and process in collection of student learning outcomes specifically related to assessment of general education.

Timeline and Submission Guidelines:
Proposal will be accepted on a rolling basis until the deadline of January 15, 2018

Interested authors should email a proposal to the Guest Editor that includes the following items:

  1. Author Information: Name(s), position(s), mailing address(es), phone number(s), and e-mail address(es). Please note the corresponding author for the submission.
  2. Title of proposed article.
  3. Proposal components:
  • relevance of the topic to IR in higher education
  • clearly stated contribution to knowledge base or understanding of IR in higher education
  • description of perspective and/or guiding framework (theoretical/conceptual/practical)
  • description of literature review
  • for empirical studies – clear description of research methods (participants, research questions/hypotheses, instruments, proposed analysis, etc.)
  • current status of proposed manuscript
  • explanation of significance, implications, relationship of conclusions to findings, generalizability, or usefulness
  1. A bio of less than 100 words for each author that includes relevant experience with topic.

Publication Timeline:
Proposals due by January 15, 2018
Authors informed of decision by February 15, 2018
Manuscript submission due by approximately May 1, 2018         
Peer review completed within 6-8 weeks                              
Revision and resubmission by August 1, 2018   
Publication in late 2018                              

All proposals should be emailed with the subject line: “MWER Special Issue – IR” to Tasha Dannenbring

Authors whose proposals are accepted will be expected to submit a final manuscript that is formatted in accordance with the Author Guidelines provided by MWER. Each submission will be peer reviewed and edited to meet the journal’s specifications for publication. Please note: positive review of a proposal and an invitation to submit a paper does not mean automatic acceptance of the full paper. The Guest Editor and MWER Editorial staff reserve the right not to publish papers if the full paper is not written to the journal’s standards and expectations.