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IRB Approval FAQ

The purpose of this document is to provide an IRB-approval expedition guide to assist our researchers in navigating the IRB-approval process. Please review the document below containing our most frequently asked questions.

Feel free to reach out directly to your Centiment project manager or email support@centiment.co if you have any additional questions.

Finally, if your IRB is requesting a letter granting you permission to use our services to conduct academic research, please click

What is the IRB?

Per the FDA, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) ‘is an appropriately constituted group that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects. In accordance with FDA regulations, an IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or disapprove research. This group review serves an important role in the protection of the rights and welfare of human research subjects.

The purpose of IRB review is to assure, both in advance and by periodic review, that appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights and welfare of humans participating as subjects in the research. To accomplish this purpose, IRBs use a group process to review research protocols and related materials (e.g., informed consent documents and investigator brochures) to ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of human subjects of research’ (FDA, ‘Institutional Review Boards Frequently Asked Questions’).


How do we source our respondents?

Our primary goal with panel recruitment is to reach as broad and representative an audience as possible. Therefore, we recruit via many outlets. Our top recruitment resources include social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. 

We also offer individuals options regarding compensation for their time. Many are compensated via PayPal accounts, with others opting to donate their earnings to a local school or nonprofit of their choice. The bulk of our studies are conducted with participants who choose to be directly compensated.


What are our security measures?

Our security is extensive and ever-changing, but we’ll cover the basics here. We use a technology called fingerprinting that combines IP address, device type, screen size, and cookies to ensure only unique panelists enter your survey. We maintain a fraud score on each respondent based on historical completions (completion time as a percentage of stated LOI + any flagged poor completes) and consistency in responding to demographic questions, then ban those that breach a certain level. We also use invisible ReCaptcha to defend against bots.

Centiment does not store any project data once results have been delivered. Please note that, if you’re using a third-party survey tool such as Qualtrics, Survey Monkey, Alchemer, etc. then the tool may store your data and is subject to each individual companies’ data retention policies. 

Centiment uses TLS (transport layer security) for the security/encryption of all transmitted data. It may sometimes be referred to as SSL or HTTPS. As such, respondents do not encounter the less-secure HTTP links anywhere in our data collection process with properly configured surveys.

Lastly, all of our servers are secured by firewalls and have DDoS preventive measures enabled.


How do we protect respondents’ anonymity?

Respondent anonymity is an important part of maintaining a trusted relationship with our panelists. A respondent can never be required to share any personally identifiable information (PII). In order to protect the identity of our respondents, we use a unique tagging system that assigns a custom variable to each respondent entering a survey. This methodology also enables us to avoid duplication.

Most of the third-party tools we are compatible with have settings that can turn off the storage of IP addresses for further anonymity. If you have any questions about your survey tools’ capabilities, please don’t hesitate to contact your project manager for clarification.


How do we notify respondents of a survey?

When a respondent qualifies for a survey, that survey will be unlocked within their dashboard and they are free to enter it. To drive participation to a particular survey, we will run batches of notifications to targeted groups of respondents throughout the fielding window of a survey.

Notifications will be a mix of email and push notifications based on respondent preferences. Prior to entering the survey, respondents will only see the estimated length of the survey and the reward that they stand to earn. We do not reveal any additional information regarding the survey, its subject matter, or how to qualify for the survey in order to avoid selection bias.


How are respondents compensated?

Respondents are compensated via PayPal, though they also have an option to donate their survey earnings to a nonprofit organization of their choice. 


Can I insert an informed consent into the beginning of my survey?

Regardless of the survey tool that you’re using, you can insert an informed consent into the beginning of your survey. 

Once you determine your consent’s verbiage, usually dictated by your IRB panel or by your doctoral advisor, you can easily insert a yes/no or multiple choice question at the beginning of your survey, listing your response options as ‘yes, I consent to participate in this study’ and ‘no, I do not consent to participate in this study.’

You can then program disqualification logic into the response choices to disqualify anyone who indicates that they do not give their consent to participate in the study, thus routing them out of the survey.


What is the minimum age I can survey without parental consent?

Each country has specific legal minimums regarding survey participation. Within the United States, we can allow researchers to survey children as young as 13 without parental consent under COPPA (Federal Trade Commission, p 2). 

If you are looking to survey respondents under the age of 13, you will need to target parents with children under age 13 and ask the parents to have their children join them for the survey.

International countries have different qualifications for their age of consent. Per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the age of consent is 16. It’s important to note that EU countries can establish their own age of consent with the cap being 13 years old. Teens under minimum age in the EU cannot be targeted without parental consent if Centiment is managing your survey project. Please verify the age of consent in your target country for all international studies.