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Research & Effectiveness

Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness
Phone: (218) 755-2764
(218) 755-4606

Mailing Address
Deputy #331, Box #24
1500 Birchmont Drive NE
Bemidji, MN 56601

Office of Institutional Research (NTC)

Code of Ethics

(Abstracted from the Association of Institutional Research. For complete version, please go to


The Code of Ethics of the Association for Institutional Research was developed to provide members of the Association with some broad ethical statements with which to guide their professional lives and to identify relevant considerations when ethical uncertainties arise. In many institutions the institutional researcher is viewed as the "guardian of truth" or the "conscience" of the institution. This is an extra burden for institutional researchers, and this Code provides some guidance to practitioners who bear that burden. Although it provides standards, the Code does not provide a set of rules. Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist with respect to interpretation, and specific application must take into account the context of a given behavior. Ethical behavior should result from a personal commitment to engage in ethical practice and an attempt to act always in a manner that assures integrity.

Claims of Competence. The institutional researcher shall not, in job application, resume, or the ordinary conduct of affairs, claim or imply a degree of competency he/she does not possess.

Acceptance of Assignments. The institutional researcher shall not accept assignments requiring competencies he/she does not have and for which he/she cannot effectively rely upon the assistance of colleagues, unless the supervisor has been adequately apprised or unless he/she would acquire the necessary competence prior to doing the research.

Section I - Competence

Objectivity. i) Unbiased Attitude. The institutional researcher shall approach all assignments with an unbiased attitude and strive to gather evidence fairly and accurately. ii) Conflicts of Interest. The institutional researcher should be particularly sensitive to avoid personal conflicts of interest when performing services. Use of Accepted Technical Standards. The institutional researcher shall conduct all tasks in accordance with accepted technical standards.

Section II - Practice

  • Initial Discussions. Before an assignment is begun, the institutional researcher shall clarify with the sponsor and/or major users the purposes, expectations, strategies, and limitations of the research.
  • Identification of Responsibility. The institutional researcher shall accept responsibility for the competent execution of all assignments which he/she, or a subordinate, undertakes, and shall display individual and/or office authorship, as appropriate, on all such reports.
  • Quality of Secondary Data. The institutional researcher shall exercise reasonable care to ensure the accuracy of data gathered by other individuals, groups, offices, or agencies on which he/she relies, and shall document the sources and quality of such data.
  • Atmosphere of Confidentiality. The institutional researcher shall establish clear guidelines about confidentiality issues within the institutional research office.
  • Storage and Security. The institutional researcher shall organize, store, maintain, analyze, transfer and/or dispose of data under his/her control in such a manner as to reasonably prevent loss, unauthorized access, or divulgence of confidential information.
  • Release of Confidential Information. The institutional researcher shall permit no release of information about individual persons that has been guaranteed as confidential, to any person inside or outside the institution except in those circumstances in which not to do so would result in clear danger to the subject of the confidential material or to others; or unless directed by competent authority in conformity with a decree of a court of law. i) Balancing Privacy Risks Against Benefits. ii) Developing Specific Guidelines.

Section IV - Relationships to the Community

  • Institutional Confidentiality. The institutional researcher shall maintain in strict confidence and security all information in his/her possession about the institution.
  • Integrity of Reports. The institutional researcher shall make efforts to anticipate and prevent misunderstandings and misuse of reports within the institution by careful presentation and documentations in original reports, and by diligent follow-up contact with institutional users of those reports. If an institutional research report has been altered, intentionally or inadvertently, to the degree that its meaning has been substantially distorted, the institutional researcher shall make reasonable attempts to correct such distortions and/or to insist that institutional research authorship be removed from the product.
  • External Reporting. The institutional researcher has an obligation to the broader community to submit and/or report accurate data and professionally responsible interpretive material when requested by legitimate authority, including federal, state, and other governmental agencies and accrediting bodies.

Section V - Relationships to the Craft

Integrity of the Profession. The institutional researcher should work toward the maintenance and promotion of high standards of practice.

Adopted by AIR membership 12/18/92 Updates Approved by the AIR Board 12/14/01

For more information on the Association for Institutional Research, please go to