Internet Research Assistant
Let us collect your data on-line
Demonstrations and Examples
See samples of the kinds of Internet studies that we can create for you.
Welcome to InternetRA
Frequently Asked Questions
Read answers to frequently asked questions about our services
1. What is Internet Research Assistant?
InternetRA is a service designed to help researchers collect their data on-line. We focus on helping academic researchers--especially students--implement their research over the Internet.
2. Will InternetRA help me recruit my research participants?
Not by default. We will create an on-line version of your study, but you will need to recruit people to participate in that on-line study. We operate under the assumption that you already have a pool of individuals from which you will recruit your subjects (e.g., mailing lists, department subject pools, class members, friends). If you would like for us to help with subject recruitment, please e-mail us about this matter.
3. Does InternetRA create the on-line study or will I need to do it with the assistance of software provided by InternetRA?
After consulting with you regarding your needs, we will create all the programs needed to collect your data on-line. We will also "host" your research study, which means that you do not need to obtain web space somewhere else for running the web programs that we create. Of course, we will need you to provide us with all the materials needed to create the on-line study. For example, if you want to collect questionnaire data on-line, we will need you to send us a copy of the relevant questionnaires. Moreover, if you would like to provide your research participants with feedback based on their responses, you will need to provide us with instructions on how to score those questionnaires and the content of the feedback. In short, you provide the content and the participants; we take care of everything else.
4. How secure are the data collected by InternetRA?
All of the data collected by our web programs are stored on databases maintained by Netfirms--the web hosting company that we use. The Netfirms servers are based on a clustered or distributed technology that helps to prevent data loss. In order to protect the privacy of your participants' data, we encourage you not to collect private information that can be used to identify them (e.g., names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses). Many psychological researchers simply identify participants via an arbitrary Username or Personal Identification Number (PIN)--a procedure we recommend. If you do need to collect sensitive information over the Internet, we can provide a secure connection (Secure Socket Layer, SSL) for data secure transmission. The datafiles are accessible via a researcher-created Username and Password.
5. How does the process work? In other words, once I contact you, how long will it take to create the on-line study, what steps are involved, etc.?
Once we have consulted with a client and determined his or her needs, we will propose a fee based on our current pricing index. If the client agrees to the fee, we will request electronic or paper copies of all the materials needed to create the on-line version of the study. For example, if the client needs us to create nothing more than a questionnaire with the capability of storing the data on-line, we will request an electronic or paper copy of the questionnaire responses and scoring instructions. Once we have these materials in hand, we will design the web-based version of the study. Most studies take us a week to design, but the timeline depends on how many projects we are managing at any one time. We can give you a more precise estimate of the time during consultation. Once the study is created, you are free to begin recruiting participants.
6. If I am an academic researcher, do I need IRB approval to conduct research over the Internet?
Yes. Most academic institutions throughout the world have a set of procedures for reviewing proposals for psychological research. Before you can collect research data using InternetRA, it is necessary to have approval from your research institution. Many IRB boards, however, consider Internet research to be "minimal risk" or "exempt from review" when there are no constraints on participation. Please contact your institution's IRB for more information. We have templates available for on-line research projects that have met federally approved IRBs. InternetRA reserves the right to refuse service to research projects that we deem ethically inappropriate.
7. How long will you host my study?
As a general rule, we are constrained by the density of participation rather than the amount of time or the total number of participants. We can discuss these issues in more depth during consultation, but, as a general rule, a typical study may stay on-line for 10 months with 100 participants per week.