APDIM Surveys

Survey Topic (Step 1) & Full Proposal (Step 2) Submission Guidelines

APDIM has been systematically surveying its residency program director-members annually since 2005. This effort has resulted in educational scholarship and generalizable knowledge about internal medicine residencies in the United States.

Email surveys@im.org for more information.

Focus of Survey Topics

Survey topics appropriate for the ADPIM Annual Survey of Internal Medicine Residency Program Directors address questions essential to APDIM and the graduate medical education community, identify best practices, inform policy, help program directors advocate for resources, provide information for strategic planning, enhance research, and provide a platform for APDIM to maintain national recognition with fellow stakeholder organizations.

All Alliance/APDIM physician/faculty members are encouraged to submit survey topic proposals.

National Survey Research 

The Annual Residency Program Directors Survey requires over one year for development, to adhere to best practices for conducting survey-based research. The goal is to collect data from a nationally representative body of program directors reflecting valid, publishable content that can be disseminated widely and generalizable to the AAIM/APDIM community. “Valid” means that the survey questions/items closely measure or assess the outcomes of interest studied. “Generalizable” means that the content applies to the broadest possible audience. For example, questions about topics that affect only urban-based residency programs would not necessarily be generalizable, whereas questions about topics that affect all residencies regardless of program location would. Topic sections that work well for the Annual Survey ask questions that program directors are able to answer, cover timely issues related to GME, and can be used to advance medical education and training. 

Watch a brief video about the Annual Survey development process

Step 1: Preparing a Survey Topic for Submission

Requirements and Standards

Interested in proposing a topic for inclusion in the APDIM Annual Survey of Program Directors that will deploy in August 2025? Please prepare a maximum 250-word paragraph explaining your proposed topic for the APDIM Annual Survey.

Topics should be relevant and of interest to the APDIM community at large. All submissions will be considered by the APDIM Survey Committee, which will blindly review and select six to seven topics for consideration for full proposals. You are strongly encouraged to review past surveys and publications  to determine whether a topic or set of questions previously has been included.

In the topic proposal form, you will be asked to describe the Problem/Topic/Issues of Concern (250-word limit) and 1-2 sentences on the overall research question that you are trying to answer. 

Proposals will be reviewed based on—but not limited to —the following criteria:

  • Can program directors can answer the survey questions?
  • Will the results be important to the APDIM membership?
  • Will the answers have implications more broadly for GME?

The deadline to submit Step 1 proposals is Sunday, June 30 at 11:59PM EDT.

You will be notified on or around August 1 about whether your topic is eligible for a full proposal. The deadline for full proposals (if invited) is Tuesday, October 1, 2024.

Successful survey topic | View recent survey sections

Step 2: Preparing Full Proposal for Submission

If your (Step 1) Survey Topic has been selected, you will be contacted by surveys@im.org and invited to complete a full online proposal submission form to be submitted by Tuesday, October 1, 2024

Full proposal should contain:

Theoretical framework, hypothesis for questions, relevant literature, and a first draft of questions. It is important to connect these with the problem/concern raised in your Step 1 submission.

The APDIM Survey Committee prioritizes questions of greatest importance to APDIM and its membership. Given the nature of survey design and the fact your questions, if accepted, will be heavily edited, revised, and pilot tested, please do not submit more than eight to 10 question items in the proposal. The goal is to produce results that are informative to the APDIM membership and publishable for a wider audience.

Online Submission Form Includes:

  • Proposed Section Title
  • Theoretical Framework/Background/Significance to APDIM (500 words or fewer)
  • Hypothesis/Research Question (100 words or fewer)
  • References (If applicable)
  • Questions (no more than eight to 10)

Those who are invited to submit full proposals will be notified of a decision approximately one week after the APDIM Survey Committee’s October/Fall meeting. If your topic is not selected for inclusion in the survey, you will be notified approximately one week after the committee’s October/Fall meeting. You will receive comments and feedback from the committee. After making revisions, you are welcome to resubmit for subsequent surveys (and are encouraged to do so).

Tips for Submission

The Survey Committee will blind-review all proposals and evaluate them based on:

  • Relevance, timeliness, and APDIM community interest in the topic
  • Ability of program directors to answer the questions
  • Whether results from the proposed topic will provide interesting information to the graduate medical education community
  • Whether the topic lends itself to data collection in a broader survey with multiple thematic sections
  • Whether the results from the survey questions would be publishable.

The committee recommends that authors conduct a literature search prior to submitting a full proposal for Step Two.

APDIM Survey Authorship

The APDIM Annual Survey undergoes a rigorous process of editing, pretesting, and pilot-testing to maximize content validity. A primary goal of the Survey and Scholarship Committee is to assist APDIM members in achieving educational scholarship through the content that they submit for inclusion in the Annual Survey.

If an author’s section is selected for inclusion, a subgroup of Survey and Scholarship Committee members will be assigned to assist with further development of and revision to your section. This will require prompt responses from section leads to requests for revisions during survey pretesting and pilot-testing. Alliance Surveys staff will also assist with reviews of content to ensure that best practices for survey methodology are adhered to. All authors must agree to have their section edited by the APDIM Survey Committee.

APDIM survey data collection is managed by Alliance Surveys staff, who will provide a report including survey section summary results for authors about 1.5 months after survey closure. About one month prior to its planned launch date, the APDIM Annual Survey is submitted by AAIM Surveys staff to an institutional review board (IRB) for compliance with human subjects research protections. AAIM Surveys staff hold valid human subjects research training certificates.

After the APDIM Survey has closed, you will receive a complete, de-identified dataset including essential characteristics about responding and non-responding programs. Section authors have six months to prepare a first draft of a manuscript for publication. In addition, it is expected that multiple APDIM Survey Committee members might serve as coauthors and assist with manuscript preparation based on their interest and involvement in a particular section of the survey. The preparation of a manuscript will likely require statistical support, and the Committee encourages you to try and identify local expertise. AAIM Surveys staff can provide guidance (or possibly serve as data analysts if authors are unable to secure statistical support), but due to competing responsibilities, staff must focus on the extensive survey administration, data cleaning, and summary results reporting aspect of the survey process. As per guidance provided by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on authorship, AAIM Surveys staff would meet criteria for authorship based on their contributions to design and acquisition of data should they be involved in 1) subsequent drafting and/or revising of the manuscript; and 2) final approval of the manuscript for publication.

If after six months the author has not prepared an initial draft manuscript, the Survey Committee reserves the right to assume the lead on manuscript preparation. The author is still included on the authorship list but may not appear as first author if another individual writes the manuscript. Section authors have the opportunity to meet with members of the APDIM Survey Committee at APDIM/AAIM conferences to discuss and receive help to outline a manuscript.


Step 1 
Topic consideration:
June 30, 11:59 PM EDT

Step 2
Full proposal (if invited):
October 1, 8:00 AM EDT

Submit a Step 1 Topic Proposal

Need Help?

It is not expected that members who submit survey topic proposals be well-versed in survey research methodology. However, survey proposals are evaluated partly based on whether they lend themselves to a research hypothesis and framework.

If you would like assistance or advice about how to formulate your idea as a topic proposal before submitting it for Step 1, the APDIM Survey and Scholarship Committee would be happy to provide support on a first-come, first-served basis to those who previously have not submitted topics.

Please email to be paired with an experienced APDIM Survey Committee member who can provide suggested revisions and work with you to improve your proposal (that individual will be recused during the Committee’s blinded review of the topic proposals).

Please note: Requests for assistance cannot be granted after June 15 due to the proximity of the Step 1 submission deadline.