Internet- and computer-based methods of collecting, storing, analyzing and transmitting data in research using human subjects present challenges in terms of the protection of research participants. This type of research method must address the same risks (e.g., violation of privacy, legal risks, etc…) and provide the same level of protection as other types of research involving human participants. All studies must ensure that the procedures fulfill the principles of voluntary participation and informed consent, maintain the confidentiality of information obtained from and/or about participants, and adequately address potential risks to participants. What follows are the requirements and recommendations that need to be applied to research involving the Internet and/or the computer for human subjects research.
For Internet-based surveys, it is usually appropriate to use implied informed consent. Participants would still need to be presented with the consent information, but would be informed that their consent is implied by submitting the completed survey (see Internet Research Consent Template).