Methodology

May 7, 2020

In designing this year’s survey, The Campus’ Zeitgeist team reviewed questions from last year’s survey (both those that were on the survey itself and others that were submitted but did not make it into the survey) and then distributed a form to solicit questions via The Campus’ social media channels. After consolidating the questions that were submitted and in careful consultation with editors, members of the Zeitgeist team generated 65 survey questions in total, including 13 demographic editors.

The Campus distributed the survey in all-student email on the evening of November 11, 2019. Responses were open for 15 days, until midnight on November 26. The survey was also distributed on The Campus’ social media platforms, posting at frequent intervals until the deadline. Campus editors set up tabling stations, alternating between Proctor, Ross and Atwater dining halls, in an effort to increase survey participation. Upon receiving the email, respondents followed an anonymous link to the survey hosted on Qualtrics. This link ensured that no personally identifiable data as to the respondent’s computer or location could be tracked. After completing the survey, respondents had the option to enter a raffle on a Google Form, which ensured that the participants’ identifying information for the raffle and the survey data were not linked.  

Following the demographic questions, this year’s survey questions were grouped into five general categories: Academics and the institution, Midd after hours, Let’s talk about sex, Health and Wellness and This I believe. Survey respondents were encouraged to answer all questions, but were able to refrain from doing so. All demographic questions offered an “I prefer not to answer” option.  

The survey data was stored on the Qualtrics platform and was distributed to a small group of reporters in sections via Google Drive.  Sharing permissions for the Google Drive folder were deleted after the completion of data analysis.   Data remained only on the devices of reporters and never shared externally, including the administration, other clubs, or academic departments.

When analyzing the data, the team did not examine specific entries or attempt to extract the entirety of a respondent’s data, but worked with the data as a whole to survey general trends. In order to protect the confidentiality of respondents, we have chosen not to disclose or report the responses of groups with 5 or fewer members in demographic breakdowns. In total, 1245 students responded out of Middlebury’s on-campus undergraduate student population of 2555, making the response rate 48.72%.

The findings were then compiled and published in the May 7 edition of The Campus. In total, 14 students were closely involved with the making of this year’s Zeitgeist.

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