Online Consent for Survey

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Online Consent for Survey

Postby HeartofJuyoMk2 » Thu May 07, 2009 7:21 am


I am entering the INTEL ISEF this year and I am conducting a study on the effects of martial arts and role-playing game participation on the developmental maturity of adolescents.

The main prolems with my research plan are consent and mentorship. As far as consent, I am looking for a group of adolescents from areas around the country, and I wish to use the internet to distribute the survey cheaply and efficiently. However, international law requires infored consent for most surveys directed towards minors, and I am faced with a major problem... how do we get a a parent's consent over the internet?

I have already submitted one method to the IRB in my school, and it has been rejected because it relies on the adolescent supplying an email address of a parent for an online consent form... the honor code.

So if anybody has any ideas on how to gather consent over the internet, I would be most appreciative.

As far as mentorship... would any professor or other professional be willing to advise me on my research plan and survey?

Thanks again.
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Project Question: What is the effect of participation in martial arts and role-playing games on developmental maturity in adolescents?
Project Due Date: November 2009
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Re: Online Consent for Survey

Postby davidkallman » Thu May 07, 2009 10:58 am


I don't think there is any surefire way to make sure there is parental consent.

The only method I can think of is to put a box on the survey saying:

_____ my parent consents to my participation in this project

The child can lie, but then it's on their shoulders.

Re mentorship: sure it would be my pleasure. One of my jobs involved surveys. Note, I am in the Eastern time zone, so if that would be a problem, someone else would be better.

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Re: Online Consent for Survey

Postby amyc » Sat May 09, 2009 11:03 pm

Hi EJF - You are right to be considering the issue of informed consent. It's an important aspect of your research, and there are specific rules for how consent is handled. There is a summary of the rules, based on ISEF rules, on the Science Buddies site: ... ects.shtml

If you follow the link on that page to the ISEF 2009 rules, you'll find both the rules for working with human subjects ( ) and a bit of information dealing specifically with how to obtain consent for surveys conducted via the Internet ( ... netConsent )

If the IRB has determined that you have to have consent, the form for consent is the Human Subject Form on page 42 of the complete rule book: ... es2009.pdf

You would have to make that form available to parents/guardians and have them complete it and return it to you (faxed or scanned and emailed) and then provide them with a link to the survey (or the emailed questions, depending on how you are conducting your survey).

Have you spoken with teachers at your school or at local colleges about possible mentorship? You might find this information about finding a mentor helpful: ... tors.shtml

Good luck with the project and at ISEF!

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