Submitting a New Research Proposal

In order to access FSRDC microdata, researchers must adhere to a stringent application process that includes the submission of a research proposal for approval by the U.S. Census Bureau and the acquisition of Census Bureau Special Sworn Status (SSS). Please read all of the proposal development documents available at the U.S. Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies before applying. 

Steps in Proposal Submission

Those intending to utilize FSRDC microdata for use in statistical and research projects must submit a proposal detailing the project endeavor to the U.S. Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies. The proposal will be vetted to ensure the project is feasible, is consistent with the Census Bureau’s mandate, provides benefits to the Bureau under Title 13 laws, produces model based statistical estimates, and does not impose any unnecessary disclosure risks. 

The final proposal consists of three documents: the project description, the benefits statement, and the abstract. Researchers will work with the KC FSRDC Administrator in proposal development with particular emphasis on the benefits statement. Once submitted, the proposal approval process will take a minimum of three months before moving on to SSS processing. 

If you are interested in pursuing research at the KC FSRDC, please follow to step below to submit a project proposal. 

1. Read the research proposal guidelines, available at the U.S. Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies website. 

2. Contact the KC FSRDC Administrator to discuss your project idea. 

3. Work with the KC FSRDC Administrator to develop your proposal. This may require several iterations. 

4. Submit the final proposal to the KC FSRDC Administrator who will in turn submit the proposal to the U.S. Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies for review. 


Obtaining U.S. Census Bureau Special Sworn Status (SSS)

After the project has been approved, researchers will be required to obtain U.S. Census Bureau Special Sworn Status in order to enter the KC FSRDC and begin research. Census SSS is a background check process the Bureau requires of all researchers in order to access restricted-use microdata. After obtaining SSS, researchers are considered temporary, un-compensated Census Bureau employees and will be given responsibilities and privileges as such. 

In order to apply for SSS, researchers must first receive project approval, then they will be contacted by the KC FSRDC Administrator with the documents necessary to apply. Researchers must complete the documents, which include fingerprint cards and forms for notarization, and return to the Administrator as soon as possible. Projects may not begin until at least one project researcher has received special sworn status. Researchers can expect to receive SSS at least two months after submitting SSS documents. 


AHRQ and NCHS Data Products

The AHRQ and NCHS data products that are available within the FSRDCs require a separate proposal process and therefore maintain separate proposal guidelines from the U.S. Census Bureau. The submission processes for each data source are available through the links below. 

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

National Center for Health Statistics