MIS Questionnaire Analysis with Excel Integration

Microsoft Access Management Information System and Questionnaire Analysis

The SPA programme (Supporting Professionalism in Admissions) works closely with higher education institutions, schools and colleges and other stakeholders on the continuing development of fair admissions and good practice in admissions, student recruitment and widening participation across the UK higher education sector. The programme is independent, funded by all the UK higher education funding bodies, and supports those working in admissions, student recruitment and widening participation.

The SPA team wanted a Microsoft Access Management Information System for their questionnaire analysis, incorporating office automation, integrating with Word and Excel.

The Problem

Microsoft Word had been used to collect regular information from all educational institutions regarding their admissions procedures. Reporting and analysing data, however, was labour intensive as it had to be done manually. SPA had started building an in-house Microsoft Access database as staff were able to build their own forms and reports. However they lacked expertise in setting up a well defined model for the database.

Our client had very specific and specialist requirements, covering a wide range of different question types. Furthermore, questions would evolve but staff needed to compare new data to information collected previously. The team wanted to be able to change questions themselves, as well as create new ones. They also wished to automate as much of the process as possible, but were unable to do this themselves.

The Solution

We remodelled the database design to provide a solid foundation for a custom Management Information System that would support all their requirements.

Staff can now create a questionnaire incorporating simple yes/no questions, multiple choice options, date or quantity collection, rank scaling requests, as well as free text comments fields. Staff can change questions as the process evolves. With automatic correlation between previous versions of a similar question, staff can compare the results from new questions to information collected previously.

With minimal training, staff are able to use their existing skills for more in depth statistical analysis. We provided a facility for staff to create their own queries and reports, which also enables them to "weight" results according to figures given in designated questions (such as the size or type of an institution).

With Microsoft Excel integration, the Management Information System now handles the entire process.

An Excel spreadsheet questionnaire is automatically produced, comprising the questions designed by the team, which is sent out by email. When these have been completed and returned by the respondent, the answers are automatically imported into the Access database. After studying the individual questionnaire responses, a member of staff will interview key personnel at the institution for additional information based on the responses to the questionnaire. Finally data is automatically exported to Excel where staff have complete flexibility in their statistical analysis, comparing different institutions as well as variations and trends over time.