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Protection of Study of Faculty Worklife Respondents

WISELI is extremely concerned about protecting the identities of Study of Faculty Worklife survey respondents. Since our first survey in 2003, we have taken many precautions to ensure respondent identities are protected, while maintaining a database that is longitudinal, flexible, and useful for answering organizational and research questions into the future.

In order to protect repondent identity, and simultaneously allow for the Study of Faculty Worklife survey data to act as a rich tool for answering important research questions, survey responses are confidential, but not anonymous.

Retaining the ability to match a respondent's name to his or her survey answers carries an element of risk that the identifiers could be made public. To minimize this risk:

Retaining the ability to match a respondent's personnel identification number to his or her survey responses allows researchers to:

Because faculty and staff at UW-Madison work in highly identifiable environments, some combination of variables on the Study of Faculty Worklife survey could be identifying (for example, the combination of department and gender, or school and race/ethnicity). Because of this possibility, WISELI has pledged that NO RESULTS WILL EVER BE REPORTED AT THE DEPARTMENT LEVEL OR BELOW. Results will only be reported at the divisional, school or college, or other aggregated level that allows for meaningful comparisons between groups but not identification of individuals.

Beginning in 2003, WISELI researchers have allowed for the possibility that researchers outside of the WISELI research group, as approved by a Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB), might want to analyze the Study of Faculty Worklife data. WISELI has developed the following protocols for sharing Study of Faculty Worklife data, in order to minimize the risk of respondent identification.

These procedures were originally approved by the UW-Madison Social & Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board (protocol number #06-01-25) in February, 2003. They have been updated and approved under protocols #SE-2007-0239 and #SE-2012-0021.