Institutional researchers collect, analyze, report, and warehouse quantitative and qualitative data about their institution's students, faculty, staff, curriculum, course offerings, and learning outcomes. They are involved in collecting and reporting information to government bodies (e.g., the United States Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) and various college guide publishers (e.g., U.S. News & World Report and College Board). On occasion, institutional researchers share data with one another to compare their own practices and outcomes against those of similar institutions. Organizations that facilitate this sort of cooperation include the Association of American Universities, the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, and the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources Finally, institutional research is the source of much of the information provided to regional and national accreditation bodies to document how institutions fulfill the standards for accreditation.
More information about institutional research can be found at the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) There are also a number of regional and state associations of institutional researchers in the United States and around the world. Links to sites related to institutional research are available from AIR.