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Case Study: People & Planet University League

The People & Planet University League ranks all UK universities by sustainability.

The data on each university is obtained by a team of researchers who are each allocated various universities, staff contacts at each university, and imports from various other data sources.

The amount of data per uni is quite large; the survey has over 600 parts, broken into ~15 sections, there's ~150 universities, each with a handful of staff who may enter data, there are tens of researchers, and a much smaller team of staff administrators who double-check the data and deal with importing external sources.

Hark ensures that the appropriate people can access what they need to (and no more) at each phase of the project.

Typically: their process runs like so:

  1. Finalise the methodology - published online for full transparency.
  2. Confirm the universities that will be in the league. Add each as a Participant.
  3. Define all the parts of the survey that will be needed to hold the dataset.
  4. Define the roles and permissions: Admin, Researchers, Unis, and Special. The Special role is used to provide occasional flexibility, e.g. if there’s some universities that have been granted an extended deadline.
  5. Identify staff contacts at the universities. These are added to the Participants as Contributors, with the Unis role.
  6. Allocate Participants to researchers by making the researchers Contributors with the Researcher role.
  7. Use CiviMail to send a bulk mailing to the researchers with a special token that will include a list of universities (participants) for which they are contributors. A special contributor link is generated for each one which provides them access.
  8. Researchers get on researching, entering the data in using their special links.
  9. Once that phase is done, researchers’ access is removed (either by changing the ACLs on the survey definition, or by removing the contributor links).
  10. After staff have double checked the research and assessments, the ACLs are set to allow universities to view (but not edit) a sub-set of the research and assessments. Universities are given edit permission for appeal questions, allowing them to submit appeals if they think the assessment is wrong.
  11. University staff are sent a mailing like the researchers were in (7), so that each staff member receives a special link for them to see/edit the survey.
  12. At the end of the appeals phase, the University contributor links are removed, or ACLs restricted, and staff will process any appeals made, recording the outcome in other parts of the survey.
  13. A huge amount of analysis is done on the data. The Reporting tool is used to summarise the data, spot outliers and problems etc. Calculated parts are used to calculate totals and apply scores to quantitive data - e.g. mapping carbon emissions to a 1-5 point score.
  14. Once finalised, the reporting tool is used to export the key figures to a spreadsheet product.
  15. A custom web front end (also using Inlay) presents the data, coming direct from Hark, to the world in a colourful interactive table, and presents a full report on each university on its own page.