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The Harvard Graduate Student Housing Survey

Q1. When you look back at the 2001 survey, what news did it produce, what
impact did it have? Can you atribute this impact to specific features of the survey
or of the survey design process and circumstances?

Though the survey was long, the design was very simple to understand. The
easy and direct questions that needed minimal thinking and no analysis were
kept perfectly at the beginning, with the slight difficult questions towards the
middle and most of all, the demographic questions towards the end making the
respondent comfortable. The survey designers keenly developed some
descriptive research about current housing and transportation. Mostly the same
kind of scale was used; not confusing the students is an effectively right method
to get more appropriate answers. The 2001 survey had rating questions so that
helped to compare against myriad segments to understand more significant
The overall survey response rate was only 38% of the whole graduate students
of Harvard Surveys was not visually appealing and also had errors such as
irrelevant, questionable questions. The length survey could have been reduced
by eliminating the repetitive answers in the question, for example, which
transportation you often use? The options were MBTA commuter rail, subway
and bus could be clubbed to option one as MBTA. The specific students course
degree affiliation questions unnecessary make the survey lengthy which can be
removed.From the 2011 survey we learned that cost, space and location were the
most important attributes to students.

Vacancies were few and waiting list
Equivalent rental structure for Harvard operated and privately rented
Followed prevailing market rental rate
Insufficient financial aid to counter high rents
Insufficient rental vacancy to absorb students
Students forced to live farther from campus
Fear of -ve impact on campus life and loss of graduates to competing

Q2. What shoud be kept/removed in the 2005 survey? What could the
survey do to contribute to the Allson initiative in a useful way?

From previous survey we can keep
Current housing
Expectations from housing
Importance of housing features
About yourself

From previous survey we can remove
Transportation sec.: in 4 years less chance to change
Individual preference: results can be interpreted from previous survey and
importance of housing features section of current survey
The self-selection bias, because the people who elect to respond the
survey are positively pre-disposed towards Harvard real-estate services.
Some questions which were hard to answer

What could the survey do to contribute to the Allson initiative in a useful way?
To set not open-ended questions in ordert o create a space where consumers
could voice their aspirations.
To determine useful insights into what students value most (e.g., apartment size
secondary as compared to location and price).
Include staff as well in survey process as vision for Allston is urban,
community and campus environment.
To question students regarding housing with varied school composition
and examining student life in greater detail (socialization forms etc).

Q3. What makes a survey successful?

The key to a successful survey is the compatibility between the researcher and
the respondents language and ways of thinking. Another concers which can be
taken into consideration are the realism, in terms of vocabulary used, attributes evoked,
the structure (presence of an introduction, structure that matches the chronology of the
consumers experience, location of factual questions and so on, the incentivesgiven tot he
respondents to complete the survey and the last, but not least the presence of biases.
Also the ability to compare and monitor data over time and the esponse rate are
making a survey successfu.

Q4. What are the limits of survey research?
These include detail and depth of the data. Data which is collected via surveys
lacks detail and depth on the subject being researched . The responses to the
surveys themselves can be a limitation as accuracy or honesty issue may occur
in the responses to the survey. The survey approach may have an advantage of
representation of the data that is produced but then as a result of this the
emphasis on the responses to be wide and inclusive limits the researchers
ability to check the accuracy of the responses.

LBUS, Faculty of Economic Sciences
Lucaciu Alexandra
Master in Business Administration, C I, 1st Year