CROS frequently asked questions
What is the Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS)?
What's the CROS definition of 'research staff'?
Who manages and runs CROS?
How long does it take to complete the CROS survey?
Can a CROS survey be part-completed and then returned to later?
Do we create the survey questions for CROS?
Will data from CROS survey returns be made freely available?
Is it really FREE to take part in CROS?
When will CROS run?
Do you offer any help with analysis?
The Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) was originally developed in 2002 as part of a project funded by HEFCE, the Scottish Funding Council, and DTI/OST (now BIS). CROS is now supported by Vitae. It is hosted on the Bristol Online Survey (BOS) tool, which provides a secure web environment for the design, delivery, administration and analysis of online surveys.
The survey is aimed at gathering anonymous data about working conditions, career aspirations and career development opportunities for research staff. It was re-launched in 2009 with a new question set to reflect the principles of the Concordat for the Career Development of Researchers and has been updated for 2013 in response to user feedback.
It will continue to provide:
"essential information about the views and experiences of our researchers, and enable us to begin to respond more effectively to the needs of this group of staff and to ensure that any policy developments are evidence-based."
While it is difficult to arrive at a common definition across every institution in the UK, the Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) Steering Group are using the definition contained in the Concordat for the Career Development of Researchers:
'Researchers are broadly defined as individuals whose primary responsibility is to conduct research and who are employed for this purpose. It is recognised that this broad category of staffing covers a wide range of staff with different disciplinary backgrounds, levels of training, experience and responsibility, types of contract (fixed or open ended, full or part time), and different career expectations and intentions.'
N.B. the emphasis on 'primary' responsibility is intended to exclude those who are in a research support role and it also intended that lecturers are not included in this definition.
A steering group is responsible for the control and coordination of the Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS), including the timing and frequency of operation. This group includes representatives from a cross-section of participating institutions and key stakeholders.
Administrative and technical support is provided by staff from the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT), University of Bristol.
Vitae provides administrative support and resources for the Steering Group and will publish an annual CROS report on behalf of and under the direction of the Steering Group.
It should take about 20-30 minutes to complete the Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) depending on how many institution-specific questions have been set up and whether any of them require free-text responses.
The 2013 survey has been shortened in response to feedback but will still provide valuable data and benchmarking for measuring progress in implementation of the Concordat, achieving and maintaining the HR Excellence in Research Award and Athena Swan, and submission of the REF Research Environment.
Yes. Respondents can decide to save a survey part way through and request that a link be emailed so that they can return to the survey at a later date. Full security and anonymity will be maintained by means of emailing a web address for the partially-complete survey. The email for the respondent will not be held in any database. The respondent can only return to the survey within the set opening and closing dates for the survey.
No - but you can add your own questions if you wish. Responses to questions you add will only be seen by your institution.
Every CROS survey comes pre-loaded with a set of 'core questions' aimed at getting research staff feedback on their induction, progress review, career aspirations, career development, training opportunities and experience of their institution.
These 'core questions' have been devised based on the previous CROS surveys and the principles of the Concordat for the Career Development of Researchers. The survey has been subject to sector input and review and trialled with research staff from a range of institutions.
Most HEIs add a list of faculties/departments/schools so they can analyse the results for specific units within the institution. CROS includes the REF Unit of assessment disciplinary list so you can analyse results for your REF submission on the Research Environment.
No. Participating institutions have agreed to a Code of Practice in how the data will be used. Institutions will be able to see only their own results and the aggregate results of the national dataset or benchmarking clubs. Only aggregate results from the 'core questions' will be shared.
Security controls within the product prevent unauthorised access.
Benchmarking clubs can be set up between groups of institutions (e.g. by mission group) with the purpose to compare anonymised data privately between institutions. Please contact us if you are interested in establishing or joining a CROS benchmarking club.
Yes! As long as you are a Higher Education Institution in the United Kingdom and have a valid BOS licence (most UK institutions already have a licence), you do not need to spend money on software or hardware. The system has been proved to be intuitive to use so there is no need for time and money to be spent on training or technical staff to set it up.
If you decide to add your own questions to the survey then you may need to spend time in devising the questions, but they only take minutes to enter into the software.
You will need to spend time in making sure your research staff know about the survey.
The intention is for CROS to be available to institutions biennially, usually for a three month period in the spring. Institutions will be able to choose when to run the survey within this timescale. For further information contact Jane Sugars.
For 2013 we are looking at developing a basic standard reporting template for institutions to use. We are also working with BOS to be able to offer a customised more detailed analysis and report of your institutional data at a reasonable cost. If this is of interest, please contact Jane Sugars.