Frequently Asked Questions: DNORS Restricted Data Agreements

Answers to frequently asked questions about DNORS Restricted Data agreements are presented below. Contact us for additional information or to obtain answers to other questions.

  • What happens if the Restricted Data Investigator changes institutions?

    Changes in the home institution of the Restricted Data Investigator require the submission of a new application or return of the data. A fee of $250 will be assessed for a new application. For agreements co-signed by the Center Director, changes in the Center Director also require completion of a new agreement co-signed by the new Center Director or return of the data.

  • What if someone joins the project team?

    In order for any new project team members to use the DNORS Restricted Data, the Restricted Data Investigator must fill out, sign, and submit to RAND two copies of the Supplemental User Agreement form (PDF) for each additional staff member. The new staff member may begin using the data after the agreement has been signed by RAND and returned to the Restricted Data Investigator, and the Restricted Data Investigator has informed the local IRB about the new staff member’s access to the DNORS Restricted Data.

    Similarly, if a member of the project team is no longer using the data, the Restricted Data Investigator should notify RAND and the local IRB of this change. Any and all changes to staff should be listed in the Annual Report submitted to RAND.

  • What if my Data Protection Plan changes?

    Significant changes to your Data Protection Plan require that a new plan be submitted to RAND for approval. Please consult with the DNORS staff to determine whether the planned change in data safeguarding procedures will arrant the submission of a new plan.

  • What should I do when my project ends?

    When your project ends, the Restricted Data must be returned to RAND and all copies and backups must be destroyed. Please complete and return an End of Contract (PDF) form and return this form to RAND with the Restricted Data.

  • What if my project is extended and I need to continue using the data?

    If your Annual Reports are up to date, you may extend your use of the data for up to one year. Please submit the following items: a written request (maximum length of one page), a completed signed Extension Request form (PDF), and a check for $100 to cover administrative costs.

    Please note that only a single extension to a Restricted Data contract is allowed. At the end of the one-year extension, the Restricted Data must be returned to RAND. Continued use of the Restricted Data beyond the one-year extension will require a new application.

    Researchers who want to continue using the Restricted Data for more than one year may request a single renewal for a period of up to three years. Annual Reports must be up to date. To request a renewal, please submit the following items: a written request (maximum length of one page), a revised Data Protection Plan (or written assurance that your plan has not changed), and a complete and signed Renewal Request form (PDF). The fee to reapply is $250, payable by check.

  • Who should I notify if an article using the data is published?

    Please send an email to with a complete citation and link to the article (if available). Please also let us know about dissertations and papers presented at conferences.

  • When is my Annual Report due?

    Your Annual Report is due to RAND each year on the date that your contract was signed by RAND.

  • What if my research plan changes substantially or I would like to study a new topic using the DNORS Restricted Data?

    In either of these cases, a new application is necessary.

  • Please explain the DNORS Restricted Data requirement that summarizes statistics or tabulations.

    Restricted data users cannot present tabulations or summary statistics, such as means, medians, and ranges, for census tracts or neighborhoods within New Orleans whether or not they identify the specific area. However, users can present these figures for the sample as a whole, for non-geographic subsamples (e.g., for males or females or by race and ethnicity). Also, data users cannot show any results on maps that identify the locations or parts of the city in which sampled tracts are located.

    The reason for the restriction is to protect the identity of DNORS respondents. The survey collects so much detailed information about respondents that it is possible to identify them if you know the tracts in the sample. And, it is easy to identify tracts in the DNORS sample with information on just a few tract characteristics, as we have learned through various analyses of the DNORS data. Other surveys, such as the Health and Retirement Survey (, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (, and the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health ( have similar restrictions.

  • What information is needed in the Restricted Data application about the types of DNORS variables that I intend to use?

    For your DNORS restricted data application, the “types of variables” section should identify the outcomes of interest as well as the general categories of explanatory variables that will be examined. This section should highlight your use of variables from the restricted data files. For example, you should include a general description of the neighborhood variables you are interested in examining and the geographic level of these variables. You will justify your need for these variables in the subsequent section. This section should be three to four sentences in length.

  • I am a graduate student and would like to use DNORS Restricted Data for my dissertation. How should I apply to use these data?

    Your faculty advisor must serve as the Restricted Data Investigator in the application to use the DNORS Restricted Data. You can be included in the application as a supplementary user of the restricted data.

  • Do I need to have a federally funded grant in order to apply for the DNORS Restricted Data?

    There is no requirement for having a federally funded research project to apply for DNORS Restricted Data Versions 1, 2, or 3. The key requirement for these versions is that the Restricted Data Investigator has a permanent faculty or research appointment at his or her home institution.

    A federally funded research project is required for applications to use DNORS Restricted Data Version 4, the highest level of restricted data. The Restricted Data Investigator must be the principal investigator of the federally funded project. Alternatively, a researcher working in a federally funded researcher center, such as an NIH-funded Population Research Center, can apply under the auspices of the Center Director, who would serve as the Restricted Data Investigator.

  • How long does it take for the Preliminary Application to use the DNORS Restricted Data to be reviewed and approved?

    It usually takes two to three weeks for a preliminary application to be reviewed and approved, although occasionally it takes longer. The length of time depends on completeness and thoroughness of the initial application, how many revised applications are necessary, and how quickly the revised applications are prepared and submitted.