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Each cohort consists of all medical graduates from all UK medical schools in a particular calendar year. Addresses and email contact details of medical graduates are provided by the General Medical Council for doctors who have consented to their details being made available for research purposes. Additional contact details are supplied to us by the doctors themselves and we also make use of published details in the Medical Directory.

In the first phase of studies undertaken by Dr James Parkhouse, the graduates of 1974, 1977, 1980 and 1983 were surveyed and followed-up until the mid-to-late 1980s.

In a second phase of the studies, started in 1994, further work was done to follow-up the 1974, 1977 and 1983 cohorts. In addition, nine further cohorts have been initiated for study, comprising the graduates of 1988, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. All except the 1988 cohort, which was first surveyed in 1995, have been studied from the start of their postgraduate training.