Dulles, Va.-based Vovici announced that Michigan State University’s Office for Survey Research is using Vovici’s software-as-a-service platform to better understand and tackle critical social issues such as student drinking, autism and teacher preparation.

OSR is a unit of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research in the university’s College of Social Science at Michigan State University.

One of OSR’s most successful survey initiatives, an award-winning Social Norming campaign, has allowed research to probe deeply into student behavior and inspired new research to help limit alcohol consumption. It has also helped demonstrate that students will make healthy decisions on the basis of accurate information about their peers’ behavior.

MSU’s program has shown a reduction in alcohol consumption norms since the campaign began in 1998.

“Part of the success behind the Social Norm campaign is that we use data collection in Vovici as an opportunity to ask questions to our students and better measure the overall campaign effectiveness,” said Karen Clark, Senior Project Manager at MSU’s Office for Survey Research. “We translate our findings into useable information for the research community by publicizing the results through a series of messages aimed at reducing harmful alcohol consumption and increasing the use of protective behaviors. In doing so, we can give our message a broader reach and positively impact more lives.”

The program has been so successful that MSU was awarded a model program grant by the U.S. Department of Education to disseminate and extend the Social Norms program.

In all, MSU’s Office for Survey Research conducts 40 to 50 Vovici-driven surveys a year. Each of those surveys, like Social Norming, seeks to make a positive impact in the community. For instance, OSR used Vovici to create a series of Web surveys to determine the educational needs of students diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in Michigan by interviewing teachers, paraprofessionals and parents about the delivery of educational services to children with ASD.

MSU’s Office for Survey Research has also used the software to follow students from graduation to job to help measure how well they were prepared for teaching careers.

“These surveys allow us to create and track a community of tomorrow’s educational leaders, and help universities better design curriculum and prepare students to succeed in today’s classrooms,” Clark said. This research has been expanded globally.

Clark credits Vovici’s user-friendly design and extensive customization capabilities for much of OSR’s survey success.

“We build every survey with our brand in mind,” she said. “Thanks to Vovici’s robust solution, we can make our surveys graphically appealing with colors and pictures that really catch the eye and increase participation.”

Clark points to Vovici’s relational database structure as another great strength.

“Sometimes, halfway through a survey, we need to make changes to maximize response rates,” Clark said. “Vovici lets us add or change things mid-survey without jeopardizing our data. Other products don’t offer that flexibility.”

Added Dave Capuano, vice president of marketing for Vovici: “Michigan State University’s efforts to drive important social changes are having a profound impact across the surrounding community. Together, MSU and Vovici are using the collaborative power of feedback to drive positive change throughout the state of Michigan and beyond.”


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