Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) students are asked to complete numerous surveys each year. The Medical Education Research Unity (MERU) can provide consultation to those who plan to develop surveys and use them for education program evaluation or research intended to be disseminated. MERU has also developed guidelines for responding to requests to administer surveys to ensure that our students are not over-burdened with requests for survey completion and that requests they do receive from the central administration use surveys that have been reviewed for overall quality, appropriateness, lack of redundancy with existing surveys, and compliance with IRB regulations. Surveying our students includes conducting questionnaires, interviews, or focus groups.

To survey undergraduate medical students

A. Requests to notify WUSM medical students about an opportunity to participate in an education research study:

  1. These requests can come from within WUSM or from other institutions. Direct all requests to the OE Medical Education Research Unit (MERU).
  2. Include a copy of:
    • the IRB-approved letter/document at the institution at which the research is being conducted,
    • the IRB-approved research protocol which may be submitted alone if it includes the following information in sufficient detail to evaluate the quality of the proposed research. Otherwise submit a full protocol in addition to this IRB-approved document, including:
      • Background and Significance, informed by a literature review with reference citations;
      • Specific Aims;
      • Methods (participants’ eligibility criteria, recruitment/study procedures, and measures); and
      • Data Analysis sections.
    • the IRB-approved consent form or information sheet,
    • the IRB-approved email language that will be distributed to students inviting them to participate in the study, and
    • the IRB-approved survey instruments, interview, or focus-group questions.

Submit a request to survey our medical students >>

B. Requests that the Office of Education become engaged in a research study with WUSM medical students:

  1. These requests can come from within WUSM or from other institutions.
  2. If WUSM is involved in collecting survey (or any other) data for a single or multi-site study, then this becomes active engagement in the conduct of the research. There must be a designated WUSM-site principal investigator (PI).
  3. It is strongly recommended that WU investigators consult with the MERU to determine the feasibility of a particular study protocol before submitting the protocol to the IRB.
  4. The OE will not provide student emails directly to the investigator(s), but will work with investigators to develop a feasible and acceptable survey-administration plan.
  5. WUSM IRB approval is required before the OE can engage in any data collection from WUSM students for research purposes. This is the responsibility of the WUSM site PI.
  6. Documentation submitted to MERU must include a copy of:
    1. the WUSM IRB-approval letter/document,
    2. the IRB-approved research protocol,
    3. the IRB-approved consent form or information sheet that will be distributed to students inviting them to participate in the study,
    4. the IRB-approved email language that will be distributed to students inviting them to participate in the study, and
    5. the IRB-approved survey (or other data collection) instrument.

Submit a request to survey (or collect other data) from our medical students >>

C. Administer a survey to WUSM medical students for Program Evaluation/Quality Improvement (PE/CQI) purposes ONLY (NOT for any research purposes):

  1. Course Directors do not need MERU review or permission to survey students in their classes for course/program evaluation or QI projects, but MERU faculty are available for assistance in planning evaluations/QI projects and developing questionnaires that will yield valid and reliable data to meet course/program objectives.
  2. Program evaluation requests might not require IRB review and approval. But the Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) or the IRB should make this determination. When in doubt, contact HRPO.
  3. The Program Evaluation/Continuous Quality Improvement Unit (PE/CQI) is available for consultation.


For questions, please contact Maria Pérez at mperez@wustl.edu.

To survey residents, fellows, or students in other WUSM programs

To survey residents or fellows, contact GME.

To survey students in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Audiology and Communication Sciences, or the master’s degree programs in clinical research, public health, or informatics, contact those programs directly. Contact pages are included below:

For additional program contacts in the School of Medicine, please review the Areas of Study page.

To request consultation for education research/scholarship

The Medical Education Research Unit (MERU) offers assistance to those who are designing education research and scholarship. This may include survey research (developing questionnaires for evaluation or research purposes, and/or conducting psychometric assessments of questionnaires and collecting validity evidence) and qualitative research (developing interviews, focus groups and other qualitative data collection methods). To request a consultation, please complete the request form.