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Participant Communication

Throughout the conduct of research, researchers may need to communicate with participants to provide notification of appointments, deliveries, or tasks required by the research. 

Please Note:
  1. Personal email, personal phones (cell or landline) are not permitted to be used to contact participants during research (clinical, social and behavoiral, student projects etc.) Phones and email accounts must be issued by WVU. 
  2. The informed consent form must include WVU IRB approved language regarding participant communication methods. Scripts and the use of email, phone calls, and texting must be included on the Data Protection form and in the IRB protocol.
  3. A project is in progress to select software that allows for compliant participant communication during research for clinical research and policies and alternatives are in review for non-clinical research. 

Guidance - Emailing and Texting Participants

Recruitment Phase

Using WVU email or WVU phones to text during recruitment to schedule the initial appointment before consent is permitted.  Permission from participants must be obtained before using email or texting to schedule a visit. Permission may be obtained during recruitment activities. Emails and texts may not include information about the subject’s health and  should include only the minimal amount of information necessary. A script and information about the recruitment process is required to be submitted with the IRB protocol.

Note the following requirements for email messages:

Subject Line: Message From WVU (or other nondescript subject line)
Include the following disclaimer at the end of the message:
While protective safeguards are in place for your information, West Virginia University cannot guarantee the security of the information contained in email messages. We will not use email to discuss or answer questions about the research or your medical history.  West Virginia University does not accept responsibility for the unintended disclosure of personal or confidential information sent using email. 

During Research - After Informed Consent

During the research phase only WVU issued landline phones/ cellphones, REDCap, and Qualtrics are approved for communicating with participants to send reminders, notifications and have general conversations. Unless an exception has been granted through the Data Protection or IRB review process.

Note: Whether calling potential subjects for recruitment purposes or communicating with participants during the research, leaving voicemail messages that include any information about the participant's health (e.g., identifying that you are calling from a specific clinic or including the title or nature of the research) is not permitted.

REDCap/Qualtrics [One-Way]

  • REDCap has capability for automated scheduling to send surveys and forms that can also be used for notifications. Additionally REDCap has the SEND IT feature which can be used to send encrypted information.
  • Qualtrics can also be used to send notifications and reminders by formatting the question as text only.
Note: These options are one-way only, participants cannot respond to the message sent within REDCap or Qualtrics.

For assistance send an email to