Furthering the Field of Ombuds Practice

How to Study Ombuds & Their Work

The field of organizational ombuds practice is a rich and emergent area of study. This page contains helpful resources for those who are conducting research or academic inquiry into ombuds and their work.

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IOA Research Agenda

research agenda for the organizational ombuds profession was put forth by a subcommittee of the IOA Research & Assessment Committee in 2018. Intended as a living document, this version of the agenda outlines eight major research goals:

The Ombuds Profession:

1. To Examine How Ombuds Demonstrate and Communicate Value
2. To Better Understand the IOA Standards of Practice (SOP) and Code of Ethics (COE)
3. To Assess the Development and Health of the Ombuds Profession

Ombuds Practices:

4. To Explain How Ombuds Carry Out Their Work
5. To Describe How Ombuds Gather, Use and Report Data
6. To Determine How Ombuds Build Collaborative Relationships in Their Organizations and Profession

The Ombuds Professional:

7. To Explore the Development, Identity, Characteristics, and Skills of Ombuds
8. To Examine the Nature and Scope of the Ombuds Role and Position   

The agenda is intended to serve as a guide for future initiatives within the IOA related to research, to outline the research priorities of the IOA for outside entities, and to establish research as a fundamental value to the field of ombuds work. In setting a research agenda, the IOA invites all interested parties to conduct research that will advance and develop the ombuds profession.

Surveying IOA Members

IOA’s collective membership embodies a wealth of information about and insight into organizational ombuds practice. Individuals wishing to survey our membership as part of an academic study or research project are welcomed to do so, subject to approval by the Research & Assessment Committee. In most cases, the following documentation will be required:

  • Demonstrated proof of Institutional Review Board (or equivalent) approval of the project
  • A copy of the full research proposal, including objectives and methodology
  • A copy of each researcher’s Curriculum Vitae (CV or academic resume)

For more information about surveying IOA members, please contact the co-chairs of the Research & Assessment Committee.

Research & Assessment Committee

The Journal of the International Ombudsman Association

The Journal of the International Ombudsman Association (JIOA) is a peer-reviewed online journal for scholarly articles and information relevant to the ombuds profession. Submissions are encouraged from all contributors regardless of affiliation with the IOA and in all major languages (English abstract required). The JIOA welcomes submissions on a rolling basis throughout the calendar year. Articles are accepted without remuneration. Authors wishing to discuss submission ideas are encouraged to contact the Co-Editors or a member of JIOA's Editorial Board at [email protected].

Read the JIOA

IOA Practice & Compensation Survey Reports

The biannual IOA Practice & Compensation Survey provides an important snapshot of the contemporary field of organizational ombuds based on responses from practitioners. Collected every other year by a team of researchers, the survey data allow organizational ombuds to position ourselves effectively as a profession over time. The survey data also permit us to offer targeted support to our members and to organizations interested in creating and sustaining an ombuds office. View Practice & Compensation Reports (members must log in to access reports).

Student Affiliate Membership

IOA welcomes as members all practicing organizational ombuds, those preparing for careers as organizational ombuds, other professionals sharing similar functions, and those interested in better understanding and communicating the value of the ombuds role. Student Affiliate Membership may be of particular interest to those enrolled in undergraduate or graduate (including professional school) programs. Student Affiliate Members enjoy a special membership rate but are not entitled to vote on matters that are presented to the Association. Learn more >.

Become a Member

IOA Research & Assessment Committee

Established in late 2014, the purpose of the IOA Research & Assessment Committee is to enhance the organizational ombuds practice through gaining a better understanding of ombuds practices, and through supporting research-based professional development. Volunteer to join the committee by contacting the committee chairs.