The JCU IRB has the following suggestions for setting up online surveys when a breach of privacy might cause harm:
Informed Consent (updated January 2017)
Participants in an online survey are unable to provide a written signature on an informed consent document. Instead, the landing page of the survey should provide all of the information necessary for a participant to make an informed decision whether or not to participate in the study. Researchers may use this Online Survey Info Page Template as a guide to writing this landing page.
Because participation is voluntary, the participants must be given the option to leave the survey. At the bottom of the landing page, the participant should be asked to answer “Yes, I agree to participate in the study” or “No, I do not wish to participate.” The submit button will forward the page to the start of the survey or will exit the survey.
A waiver of signed consent should be requested in Section 8.d.(ii) of the IRB Application.
In order to make each question of an online survey voluntary, the IRB may insist that surveys do not have questions with required responses so that the participant is permitted to skip answering any question. An alternate method would be to require a response but list “I choose not to answer” as one of the possible answers.