Use of Qualtrics and Sona Systems Online Tools


All audience types will be administered an internet-based survey via Qualtrics. Qualtrics is a web based, research surveying software used to conduct statistical analyses. Use of Qualtrics software requires a TexasTech account with access granted to only those who are specifically designated by the principle researcher. Qualtrics has a contract with Texas Tech University to provide survey interface and storage of electronic data. All online survey information will be collected on the Qualtrics website. All data obtained from participants will be kept confidential and will only be reported in an aggregate format (by reporting only combined results and never reporting individual ones). All questionnaires will be concealed, and no one other than the primary investigator and assistant researchers, who are listed, will have access to them. The data will be stored in the HIPPA-compliant, Qualtrics-secure database until the primary investigator has deleted it.

Sona Systems

Sona Systems is an online management system that provides universities with an easy-to-use, web accessible interface to handle all the scheduling and management of human subject pool studies. Student research participants can sign up online, researchers can set up their studies online, and administrators can ensure students have completed all their requirements.

Researchers can easily enter in all information about their studies, including any special requirements, prerequisites or disqualifying studies. They can also set up two-part studies where the sessions must be scheduled a specified number of days apart. Researchers credit students (or indicate they did not appear) after the study, and the system will automatically assign penalty credits for students who fail to appear, if necessary.

Students can track their progress, including credit status and studies they have signed up for, at any time. Students may create their own accounts (if enabled) and login immediately or after the administrator approves them for login. Students are notified by email with a reminder of their upcoming appointments and also when they receive credit for a study they participated in. Students may sign up or cancel their appointment to participate in a study up until a specified deadline before the study is scheduled to occur. The system automatically prevents students from signing up for a study for which they do not qualify, due to participation restrictions or other reasons.

Administrators have full oversight over all studies. Administrators can choose to approve studies before they are made visible to students, and may also limit the number of experimental hours available to a specific study, researcher or principal investigator. Administrators can grant special non-study credit to students (e.g., students who complete a research paper instead of participating in studies).

Sona Systems is compliant with all major research regulations and guidelines worldwide, including the U.S. Common Rule, U.S. HIPAA, U.S. FERPA, Canadian Tri-Council Policy, Canadian PIPEDA, European Union Data Protection Directive and OECD rules. The system also follows APA ethical guidelines governing research. The system can be configured to automatically assign numeric ID codes to all students, to protect their privacy. It may also be configured to require an IRB approval code and expiration date before a study may be posted. The study is automatically deactivated on the expiration date and no further research may be conducted until the study is renewed by the IRB. The datacenters are secured and staffed by professionals and the software runs on special security-hardened servers.