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Institutional Review Board (IRB): Online Surveys & Questionnaires

IRB Documents Checklist

Not sure which supplemental documents you need for your IRB application? Use our new IRB Documents Checklist!

Contact the IRB

email icon Email us at and CC your dissertation chair

 Visit the IRB Office Hours page

Quick Links

IRBManager. Links to IRBManager platform

CITI Program

Introduction to Online Surveys & Questionnaires

If you are using an online survey or questionnaire, you will need to create your survey and have it ready before submitting your IRB application. You will provide your survey link within the IRB application so that the IRB member can open and test the survey. The survey link you provide should not require the IRB to login or use any special permissions in order to view the survey.

Do I have to use a specific survey platform?

NCU researchers have free access to Qualtrics through NCU. To request a free Qualtrics account, email your name and NCU email address to the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (

Researchers can choose to use other survey platforms as long as they are secure. However, researchers who use other platforms are responsible for formatting their own consent letters to meet all NCU IRB requirements.

What are the IRB requirements for online surveys?

Online surveys should meet the following NCU IRB requirements. For a visual example, here is the NCU IRB’s example online survey.

How do I add the consent letter to my survey/questionnaire? 

To paste your consent letter into your survey, please use the following steps. 

  1. Open your survey/questionnaire for editing.
  2. Click on "Add Block" text below any block. 
  3. Drag and drop the block so that it is the first block. This will place it above the default question block. 
  4. Rename the block to Consent Letter
  5. Deselect the checkmark to the left of the question number. You do not need to have a question number on the consent letter. 
  6. Click on the Add new question button.
  7. Click Text/Graphic from the list of question types.
  8. Copy and paste your consent letter into the text box.
  9. Review the headers to ensure they are bold, and follow them with a space. This will help your headings stand out by adding some space around them. 
  10. Ensure that your entire consent letter was pasted into the text box and that is readable. You should paste the consent letter without the MS Word formatting as the hidden characters in MS Word can interfere with proper display and screen reader functionality. 
  11. Add the following text to the bottom of the consent letter: By clicking the next button and completing the survey you indicate that you have consented to participate in this research. If you do not want to participate, please close the browser. 
  12. Save your work. 
  13. Preview your survey and revise as needed. 

What will the IRB Reviewers look for in my survey/questionnaire?

  1. Reviewers will continue to check surveys/questionnaires to ensure the consent letter is on the first page, and that the statement "By clicking the next button and completing the survey you indicate that you have consented to participate in this research. If you do not want to participate, please close the browser" has been added to the bottom of the consent letter. 
  2. Questions are not set to required. Participants have the right to skip any questions they do not want to answer. To support this, questions cannot be mandatory. Do not force people to complete a question.  

How do I get help with my survey/questionnaire?

Qualtircs provides a rich self-service portal. It is found at

How do I test for ADA compliance?

There are many tools you can use to test your survey for ADA accessibility. While NCU IRB does not endorse any specific tool, we have had good results with AccessibilityChecker