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Institutional Review Board (IRB): Recruitment - Social Media Flyers

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What do I need to create if I am recruiting on social media?

if you are planning to recruit on social media, you will need to write the post that you plan to send out, which should meet all content requirements for recruitment materials. If you will be posting an image or flyer on social media, you will need to submit your image/flyer AND a text post to the IRB.

Example Social Media Post

The following is what a final social media post would look like, after receiving IRB approval.

example facebook post. Text below image

The design created in Canva is accompanied by text that appears in the post. The text meets all IRB requirements for recruitment materials and also provides a description of the Canva design, for users who are blind. The text reads:

Are you age 18+ and currently enrolled as a student at a fully online college or university in the United States?

If so, consider participating in a research study on the learning preferences of students in online higher education. Participants in this study will:

    1. Complete an online survey for 20 minutes

If you participate, you will be asked questions about:

  • Your learning and access needs in online higher education
  • Your age, disability, major, and length of time in online higher education

To participate, click the link to the survey:

Email with questions. Thank you!

Jenelle Dembsey

Doctoral Candidate at Northcentral University

Image description: Coffee and books


Additional Social Media Recruitment Resources

How to Use Canva

if you are designing a flyer for social media, we suggest using Canva.

What Is Canva?

Canva is a free website that can assist researchers in creating flyers to recruit participants online. Canva offers a variety of templates and designs and can automatically size flyers for social media posts.

How Do I Create an Account?

To create an account in Canva, go to the Canva website and click one of the “sign up” buttons on the left side of the page. You can sign up through your Google account, through your Facebook account, or with an email address of your preference. Follow the prompts to create your account and login.

Homepage for Canva. An arrow points to where users can sign up for an accunt

How Do I Find Designs That Are Sized for Social Media?

After logging in to Canva, look for a search bar in the middle of the page. You can search for designs based on the social media site you are planning to post to. If you wanted to post to Facebook, for example, you could search for "Facebook" and then select "Facebook Post." Canva will then present you with templates that are sized specifically for a Facebook post.

A search for Facebook within Canva

How Do I Choose a Design Template?

Canva will provide many different designs that already contain text. You will be able to change, add, or remove text later on, so you should choose your design based on the image or design layout . For example, if you were doing an online survey on water consumption, then a design with a glass of water may be appropriate. If you can't find an image that relates to your research, choose a design with plain colors and shapes instead. You also want a design with enough empty space to provide information about your research and participant eligibility.

6 design options in Canva. The design with a glass of water is highlighted

How Do I Edit the Design to Meet My Needs?

Once you select a design, Canva will open up the design editor. Select a textbox to update the text or move the text to another location within the design. Selecting the textbox will also reveal a formatting bar at the top of the screen: here you can change font type, size, color, and alignment, among other options. If you need another textbox, click the "Text" icon in the black bar on the left. 

Design editor within Canva. Arrows are pointing to the text editor bar at the top and to the icon for additional textboxes on the left

In the following example, I have edited a design to meet my needs. In the image, a stream of water is flowing into a glass of water that is almost full. The glass of water is on a table that is covered with water droplets. The original text (as shown above) stated "Stay Hydrated. Your daily #lifetip." I have changed that text to read: "Take survey on daily water intake. " The word "survey" is the largest text in the image, to attract attention. I have also added an additional textbox with information about participant eligibility: "Must be 18+ and drink at least 1 cup of water daily." 

Because this image will appear along with text in a Facebook post, all of the IRB content requirements do not need to be included in the image (which would make the image look crowded and be less effective). I will need to include the rest of the requirements in the text of my Facebook post though (an example is provided at the end).

Image description is within text

How Do I Attach My Design within My IRB Application?

Please remember that you must receive IRB approval before you begin recruitment or distribute your design to any potential participants. You will need to include your design within your IRB application. To do so, you will download your design from Canva by clicking the downward-facing arrow near the right corner and then select the teal button that says "Download."

If your design contains all of the IRB recruitment requirements, you can upload the image file for your design directly into your IRB application in Section F. However, if the IRB requirements will be met by both your design AND text within your social media post, then please paste your design into a Microsoft Word document, along with the text that will accompany it. You can then upload the document in Section F.

IRB Documents Checklist

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