Peterson (1985) defines institutional research as "a
critical intermediary function that links the educational, managerial, and information
functions of higher education institutions." Saupe (1981) extends this
definition by emphasizing the importance of internal data gathering and analysis
to the management of post-secondary educational institutions.
Four basic activities describe institutional research:
collecting data about the performance of an institution,
collecting data about the environment of an institution,
analyzing and interpreting the collected data, and
transforming and interpreting data analyses into information that can be used
to support the institutional planning, set institutional policies, and make
academic and management decisions.
What are the functions of Institutional Research at
The Office of Institutional Research (OIR) serves as
a comprehensive source for information about Clemson University. The primary
goal of OIR is to collect, comprehend, combine, and analyze data pertaining
to a range of operational activities at Clemson, and to store these data in
a historical database that can be referenced in the future. OIR is also concerned
with the systematic evaluation of educational programs, educational support
services, administrative processes, and financial resources in order to assist
in identifying the strengths and weakness of the institution.
What kinds of data are available?
General and historical
Data about students (enrollment and credit hour data, demography, and degrees
Faculty and staff demography
Facilities and associated utilization
Financial information (tuition and fees, financial aid, revenues and expenditures,
grants and contracts, and endowments)
Who may have access to these data?
Summaries and analyses are available to students, faculty,
or staff in academic or support units needing information for publicity, presentations,
reports, grants and contracts, public relations, news releases, or other legitimate
Are comparative data available?
Clemson University is a participating member of the
Southern University Group (SUG), an association of 28 regional institutions
established as a data exchange group. As a member of this group, the office
of Institutional Research has access to summaries of data on enrollment, tuition
and fees, teaching loads, faculty and administrative salaries, graduate stipends,
and expenditures and revenues. Information is also available from a number of
additional universities, from regional or national reports, and from the U.S.
Department of Education.
A reminder . . .
In order to maintain a complete and comprehensive database,
a copy of all reports submitted by the University to the South Carolina Commission
on Higher Education (CHE), accrediting agencies, or to the Southern Association
of Colleges and Schools (SACS), should be sent to the Office of Institutional