SAAIR was founded in 1994, and is affiliated to the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) in the United States.
Institutional Research (IR) has been defined in various ways, but typically refers to a cluster of activities that supports decision-making, policy analysis, quality assurance, effective management, projections and planning in higher education. Southern African institutions are increasingly recognising the need for IR in order to address the variety of policies regulating higher education, and many institutions are creating IR offices, albeit using a variety of titles.
Our membership includes persons involved in Institutional Research, Management Information, Institutional Planning, Quality Assurance, Statutory Reporting, Student Administration, as well as Academics. SAAIR holds annual conferences (forums in the past), at which members can disseminate research, and discuss issues relevant to the IR profession.