NEW! Research Brief: Content Evaluation of the National Resident Matching Program Applicant Survey: Reflections on Process and Lessons Learned
The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) has maintained a long-standing interest in characterizing the experiences of those who participate in the Main Residency Match®. That interest has, in part, been pursued annually through the administration of an Applicant or Program Director Survey. The NRMP administers the Program Director Survey in even Match years and the Applicant Survey in odd Match years. Data from these surveys are analyzed and made available on the NRMP’s website to inform future applicants’ decision making about specialties and programs to which they may wish to apply, and to convey information more broadly across medical education constituencies about applicant and program decision making at key stages of the transition to residency. The data are also increasingly used to help answer key questions about the transition to residency that are central to the NRMP’s research agenda.
Both surveys were revised substantively in late 2020 to understand the impact of the pivot to virtual recruitment that was necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic on those participating in the Match. To assess anticipated changes in experiences with virtual recruitment, the surveys were administered annually to both groups in 2021 and 2022. Revising the surveys to include questions related to the transition to virtual interviewing created a broader discussion among the NRMP’s leadership about the need to evaluate survey content to ensure the questions being asked capture the experience of each group of survey respondents.
Accordingly, in 2022, the NRMP launched an initiative to engage in a comprehensive assessment of its surveys, identifying which pieces of the surveys are most critical and valuable to constituents versus those that might convey limited information or be redundant. The goals of these efforts were to maximize the information obtained from the surveys, and potentially inform changes to the surveys in the future, while also being considerate of respondent burden. This Research Brief outlines the findings from that examination.