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Human Studies > Forms, Samples and Guidelines > CREATING AN ONLINE SURVEY?
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Human Studies Council

-Institutional Review Board-

 

GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE SURVEY CONSTRUCTION: 

Please incorporate the following when you create a survey for online administration.   

1.  Anonymizer– The anonymizer feature allows you to create your survey so that IP addresses are not stored. 

    • Activate this feature upon survey design and reference it within the consent document.
    • Refer to the anonymizer feature in your consent document under section titled confidentiality with language such as:

Any and all information obtained from you during the study will be confidential. Because the survey is online it may be technologically possible to link your responses to the computer or account that you used. However, the researchers will make no attempt to link your responses to your computer, account or identity. In fact, the survey software function that allows us to prevent us from tracking participant IP addresses has been activated.  Your privacy will be protected at all times.  Your participation and survey responses are effectively anonymous.  All information you provide through the survey cannot be identified or tied to you. The data collected however, may be used as part of publications and papers related to this topic.      

2.  Function that permits respondents to skip questions - To respect participants’ autonomy, surveys must be designed to permit participants to skip questions they are not comfortable answering.   

3.  Concluding consent statement and action - The informed consent process is executed by placing consent language on the opening page of an online survey.

    • The HSC waives documentation of signed consent for most online surveys.   No name or signatures are collected.  
    • Online consent statements must include the following concluding statement:             

This information has been provided so you know what to expect if you participate in this study. Your consent will be implied by your completion and submission of this survey. To convey that you understand and agree to participate, please press continue below.

--see a sample online survey consent statement

4.  End page for surveys involving potentially emotionally provocative content- Please add a final page to the online survey to provide contact information for support recourses. 

The following language is suggested:

 Thank you for taking the survey! If you have any questions, concerns, or feel you need to talk with someone, please don't hesitate to contact any of the following:

      • PI / Advisor name, phone  and email
      • CCSU’s Counseling and Wellness Center (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm) (860) 832-1945
      • Off Campus? Call the United Way of Connecticut, just dial 211

 5.  Use plain language so your consent document is written at an appropriate readability level.  

    • The federal regulations do not mandate a readability level but do insist that the consenting process is understandable by subjects. 
    • A 7th grade reading level is a good guideline unless the demographics or other known characteristics of your potential participant pool suggests otherwise. 

 

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