University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Interpreting the 2004 Results

When reviewing the results of the survey, please keep in mind some of the following issues:

Variables Not Accounted for in the Analysis

The results presented are meant to describe the overall pattern of the data. They do not take into account or "control for" any characteristics of the respondents. Although additional analysis can "control for" some of these effects, the current report presents an overall snapshot of the results due to the large number of possible variables.

Statistically Significant Differences

Although the graphs may suggest differences among groups, in many cases these differences are not statistically – or meaningfully – different.

  • Staff Results
    • For most of the job classification results, differences are unlikely to be due to chance. However, these differences may be the result of other variables that have not been "controlled for."
    • For most of the campus results, small differences between groups are likely to be due to chance fluctuations and the groups can be treated as equivalent to one another.
  • Faculty Results
    • For most of the campus results, the differences between campuses were statistically significant and unlikely to be due to chance. In most cases, Crookston reported less favorable attitudes and experiences than their colleagues on the other campuses.

Practical Significance

Differences that may be statistically significant may not be practically significant. Practical significance rests on judgments of whether a difference is relevant or of any importance in the real world.

Sample Size

In some cases, the number of participants in a particular group is small. Results from a smaller group of participants are less stable and reliable as compared to results from a larger group of participants.