Updating your IRB for unmoderated remote research
Here we provide information on how we updated our IRB to conduct studies via Discoveries Online. This information should be useful for other labs who plan to host their studies with us, as well as a model for other labs adopting this approach.
We obtain both consent from parents and assent from children verbally; we confirm
that each has been provided for each study in our post-processing of video data. Parents first learn
about our research through an interactive slideshow. Then, the parent or legal guardian supervising
the study administration is prompted to verbally state their consent according to a script provided.
Directly afterward, children are prompted to verbally state their assent.
You can find an overview of the consent/assent process that we have used for our own research here.
We recommend using the following language to describe the confidentiality of video data collected through Discoveries Online.
Video and audio files obtained through our online platform will be assigned a random file name based on the participant's ID number. Once the video stream is uploaded by parents, the web application will move the completed video file to a portion of the web server that is not accessible by the Apache web server software; this will inhibit another user from being able to access the file via the web directly. Once uploaded, the video can only be accessed through the web application (via Python) and requires the username and password of an administrator. Videos are deleted from the webserver three days after they are downloaded.
Our IRB protocol also states that researchers are only allowed to download participant videos on a lab computer. Downloaded and converted videos are then stored in a secure university server that has been password-protected by the university’s Psychology Department IT team. All video data is de-identified aside from the assigned subject ID number.
Privacy of Participants
In our system, participants are given the option not to disclose any demographic information. However, if they do choose to provide demographic information, data linking their names to any potentially sensitive information (e.g. age, race, gender, education level) is stored on a secure, password-protected server.
Other Helpful Notes
- It may be useful to emphasize that, like all research, children and parents always have the option to end their participation at any point in the study.
- Even though our consent/assent process is interactive, we were able to export our slides as a PDF and attach that to our IRB amendment. You can download these slides here.