IRB Guidance: Qualtrics Best Practices

This page addresses the best practices for researchers when using Qualtrics, a web-based survey service.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a site license for faculty, staff, and students to use the Qualtrics Survey Hosting Service.

Best Practices for Researchers:
  1. Faculty advisors of student researchers are strongly encouraged to create surveys using their own faculty or staff Qualtrics account, rather than having student researchers under their supervision create surveys using their own student accounts.  Doing so enables the advisor to retain access and control of the survey and resultant data as student researchers come and go from a project. Student Qualtrics accounts are turned off when students leave their student role at UW-Madison, and it may be very difficult for advisors (or anyone else) to gain access to any data stored in Qualtrics accounts once they have been turned off.  Advisors who create surveys in their own Qualtrics accounts can then share each survey (and resultant data) with the applicable student researchers and members of their research team who are authorized research personnel named in the IRB-approved application using the “collaboration” feature in Qualtrics. Students and/or research personnel can then perform all the work of entering questions, administering the survey, etc.
    • Once data collection is finished and the survey has been closed, the advisor should download the data from Qualtrics, and store them securely using DoIT-approved electronic storage.
    • Once data are downloaded and stored securely outside Qualtrics, the advisor should delete the relevant survey in his/her Qualtrics account. Only the survey owner can delete the survey from the Qualtrics website.
  2. If student researchers create, or are currently using, surveys developed in their own student accounts (not encouraged), the advisor is responsible for ensuring the following:
    • The student researcher provides the advisor with access to the survey in Qualtrics using the “collaboration” feature during creation of the survey.
    • Once data collection is finished and the survey has been closed, the student researcher downloads the data from Qualtrics, stores them securely using DoIT-approved electronic storage, and provides the advisor with access to the data.
    • Once data are downloaded and stored securely outside Qualtrics, the student researcher deletes the relevant survey in his/her Qualtrics account. Only the survey owner can delete the survey from the Qualtrics website.
  3. Once a research study is finished, researchers should not destroy collected data.  Researchers need to comply with the UW-Madison policy on Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership, including for the retention of research data.
  4. Avoid non-compliance due to over-enrollment by putting a cap on the number of surveys that can be initiated/completed (set response limits) in Qualtrics.
  5. Qualtrics automatically collects IP addresses for survey participants, unless users indicate otherwise in the survey settings.  Note that IP addresses are considered a direct identifier and if the protocol indicates no direct identifiers will be collected, then survey settings in Qualtrics should be adjusted appropriately (select "Anonymize Response" within Survey Options).



Keywords:qualtrics, data sharing, survey hosting service   Doc ID:78898
Owner:Kamie L.Group:Education and Social/Behavioral Science IRB
Created:2017-12-22 10:12 CSTUpdated:2018-10-16 13:44 CST
Sites:Education and Social/Behavioral Science IRB, VCRGE and Graduate School
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