How is the anonymity and privacy of the students’ and professors’ data ensured?Since data collection for the 2006 CHE UniversityRanking, professor and student interviews have been exclusively carried out via online self-completion questionnaires.
Professors receive an e-mail from the CHE giving them a password that allows them access to the online questionnaire. The password ensures that only those professors contacted can answer the questionnaire and that this is only completed once. Passwords are allocated on a random basis and the questionnaire is anonymous. No attempts are made to draw conclusions from data regarding individual persons in the questionnaire.
By contrast, students are contacted via the faculty offices of their respective higher education institution (HEI) and receive information on how to access the online questionnaire via traditional postal service. To achieve this, the CHE sends the HEIs envelopes that have already been sealed and that only require that the students’ addresses be printed on them. The CHE gets feedback from the HEI on how many questionnaires have been sent out and are not give the addressees of the students. The use of passwords again serves to ensure that the student interviews can only be completed by those who have been sent the password in the post and that this is only completed once. In compliance with data protection regulations, the passwords are in no way related to the names or addresses of interview subjects. The CHE is therefore unable to investigate who did or did not take part in the interview on the basis of the passwords.
Taking part in the interviews is completely anonymous. The raw data of the student and professor interviews is not conveyed to the HEIs.