Surveying Medical Students

Policy 958.00

Policy Statement

The purpose of this policy is to monitor the volume and appropriateness of survey requests made to medical students.

The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine (LCOM) wishes to ensure confidentiality standards, promote integrity of instruments to ensure utility of results, and protect their medical students from requests for an overabundance of surveys.

Data collection instruments/surveys that require review and distribution via the Teaching Academy are those that include LCOM medical students as respondents and are:

  • intended for scholarly research purposes.
  • intended to gather data to inform the learning experience and environment.
    • Data collection instruments that are intended for scholarly research purposes will provide IRB documentation as part of the review process.
    • Data collection instruments that do not require review are those intended to assess event attendance, or those sent out by the Office of Medical Education (OME) to accomplish administrative functions, such as voting or polling.

LCOM will only consider results of surveys taken in accordance with this policy.

Policy Elaboration

Survey Distribution

Surveys distributed online must utilize software approved by the University of Vermont (UVM) Institutional Review Board (e.g., Blue, Qualtrics, RedCap). These platforms have been vetted for confidentiality protections and data ownership issues. Other platforms (e.g., Survey Monkey, Google Forms, etc.) should not be used.

All survey links will be distributed from the email account dedicated to survey research that is managed by the LCOM Teaching Academy at LCOM. For each survey, an email will be distributed to students with the relevant information, with a reminder to be sent one week later. Surveys will be scheduled in two-week blocks.

Survey links should not be distributed via social media or via a QR code. Social media may be used to promote surveys but must refer students back to the original email notification for students to access the link.


Students, staff, and faculty interested in soliciting survey responses from students at LCOM must seek instrument approval from the Teaching Academy. All surveys require a review of the instrument. Release of surveys will occur only after approval and upon review of a final draft of the survey.

If unsure whether a data instrument requires review, the Teaching Academy will be contacted for guidance. The Teaching Academy may request additional documentation such as proof of IRB review, name of faculty sponsor (if applicable), and intended survey platform. Survey requests may be referred to the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education for approval when necessary and at the discretion of the Teaching Academy

If any survey seeks to assess parts of the curriculum, the student will contact the relevant curriculum director to inform them of the survey. Students will notify any applicable LCOM department or office for access to respondent population. If a student requires assistance in identifying what departments or offices should be notified, they will contact the Teaching Academy.

The timing of the survey release will be scheduled in relation to other open surveys and curricular activities. Every attempt will be made to release surveys in a first come first-serve fashion. To minimize the burden on students while recognizing the need for robust response rates, no more than one internal LCOM and one external survey will be distributed to students in a given class year, during each two-week block. Exceptions will be limited and reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Applicability of the Policy

All Medical Students.

This policy also applies to vendors and researchers outside of the Larner College of Medicine and to students wishing to survey students related to scholarly project requirements. This policy is not applicable to surveys solicited by the administration including, but not limited to, official Dean’s Office Surveys, course evaluations surveys, curricular surveys from the Office of Medical Education, Course Directors and their designees, or any other persons the Dean deems appropriate.

Related Larner College of Medicine Policies

Not Applicable

Related University of Vermont Policies

Not Applicable

Related Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) Standard(s)

  • 3.5 Learning Environment/Professionalism
  • 8.5 Medical Student Feedback


  • 6/20/2017 Policy Adopted/Affirmed [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 5/15/2018 Policy Edit [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 9/18/2018 Policy Revised [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 3/17/2020 Reformatted [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 6/16/2020 Policy Edited [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 7/20/2021 Policy Revised [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 9/20/2022 Policy Edited [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 6/20/2023 Policy Revised [Medical Curriculum Committee]

Policy Oversight

Assistant Dean for Medical Education (Director of Curricular Evaluation and Assessment)

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