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Postdoc survey following cognitive interviews

The brief

Nature were looking to run a new survey with postdocs across the globe, as this audience has been described as the ‘neglected part of the scientific workforce’ – therefore research to specifically focus on their experiences was desired.

This postdoc survey sought to cover a broad range of topics, including career satisfaction, workplace relationships, presenteeism, and financial struggles. The impact of COVID-19 was also explored.

The approach

Cognitive interviews: Nature wanted to make sure the key topics would resonate with current postdocs, while ensuring validity of the questioning. Shift conducted 11 cognitive telephone interviews in English with postdocs from around the world – the results of which fed into the eSurvey design.

eSurvey: In collaboration with Nature, Shift developed a guide with up to 70 questions. To reach a larger spread of respondents, the postdoc survey was translated into 4 languages: French, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish. We received a large response – 14,572 hits, including partial responses. Following data cleaning, we had a usable sample of 7,670.

The value

We delivered a full visual report and provided access to Q Reader to allow a deeper dive into the data. The dataset will be made publicly accessible by Nature and the results will be disseminated through a series of articles within the journal.