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Information for Participants

The Michigan Doctoral Experience Study (MDES) is administered by the Rackham Institutional Research Office with the oversight of the University of Michigan Health Sciences and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board.

Data Confidentiality

Rackham Institutional Research takes great care to safeguard the confidentiality of students’ data. Identifiable student data is not shared with graduate departments/programs or Rackham deans, and summary statistics are presented in aggregates of sufficient size so that individuals cannot be identified. The MDES survey data is used for academic research purposes and to compile a variety of summary reports that will be made available to different stakeholders, including U-M doctoral students, Rackham administrators, and graduate programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the survey period?

The 2019 survey period will open on September 16 and close on September 27.

Who is invited to participate in the survey?

All students who began a Rackham Ph.D. program in SP/SU or Fall 2017, 2018, or 2019 will receive an invitation to participate in the 2019 MDES survey.

Will I receive an incentive for participating?

Only invited students who complete the survey will receive an incentive. The incentive payment gift card will be sent within 10 to 15 business days of completing the survey.

Are answers to the survey confidential?

Yes, all survey data will be held confidential by the staff in the Rackham Graduate School Institutional Research Office. Only study team members will have access to identifying information. Specifically, identifiable data will not be accessed or shared with graduate departments/programs or Rackham leadership. When study team members analyze and report data, survey responses will be aggregated across respondents such that no one can be identified.

What will the survey data be used for?

Rackham implemented the Michigan Doctoral Experience Study (MDES) to examine how students develop over the entire trajectory of graduate study. Students’ survey responses will be used to inform Rackham programming and policies to better meet student needs and contribute to doctoral student success. We also anticipate that the survey data will be used to conduct rigorous academic research on graduate education.