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Email Recruiting of Research Participants

These guidelines apply to all applicants for IRB approval or Exemption status who plan to use active Texas State email addresses to solicit the participation of Texas State faculty, staff, and student participation in research projects. This information is also included in the Instructions & Templates packet.

Message Formatting Requirements

Address Line: The Principal Investigator (PI) should employ measures to avoid disclosing the email addresses of potential research subjects to others. Common techniques include the use of:
  • Individually targeted messages (only one address in ‘TO:’ line) per message
  • Group targeted messages with all recipient addresses in the ‘BCC:’ line

Subject Line: The PI shall use a standard subject line formatted as follows:

‘Subject: Research Participation Invitation:

Thus, the ‘Subject:’ line always begins with the phrase ‘Research Participation Invitation’ and ends with a phrase or key words describing the nature of the research.

Email Message Body: The email message body should be free of special font effects such as color, bolding, or highlighting. The PI should include all pertinent information in the message body, but if supplemental information is necessary, hyperlinks (to the supplemental information) are preferred over attachments.

The first sentence of the message body must affirm that the Texas State Institutional Review Board (IRB) has either approved the project or declared it exempt from IRB oversight. The bulk of the message body should describe the purpose of the research project and the anticipated value of the findings. To enhance the likelihood of recipient participation, the PI may also wish to address other topics, such as the reason for the recipient’s selection, a statement of anonymity or confidentiality, the anticipated time required for participation, the voluntary nature of participation, and any incentives for participating.

The body must close with the following information:

  • The IRB Approval or Exemption Number.
  • The provided statement directing questions about research, research participants’ rights, or research-related harm to participants, to both the current IRB chair and the director of Research Compliance, and including their current contact information.
  • A statement directing questions about the research project itself to the PI, and including the PI’s telephone and email contact information.  

Template

Replace the red and bracketed [ ] text below, with text appropriate for your approved research.

To: [Use this line for individual addresses or your own address if BCC line is used]

From: [Principal Investigator]

BCC: [Use this line when sending the same email message to multiple addresses]

Subject: Research Participation Invitation: [Research project title, topic or key words]

This email message is an approved request for participation in research that has been approved or declared exempt by the Texas State Institutional Review Board (IRB).

[Text of recruitment email message goes here. To enhance the likelihood of recipient participation, the PI may wish to include the purpose and anticipated value of the research project, the reason for the recipient’s selection, a statement of anonymity or confidentiality, the anticipated time required for participation, the voluntary nature of participation, and any incentives for participating.]

This project [insert IRB Reference Number or Exemption Number] was approved by the Texas State IRB on [insert IRB approval date or date of Exemption]. Pertinent questions or concerns about the research, research participants' rights, and/or research-related injuries to participants should be directed to the IRB chair, Dr. Jon Lasser (512-245-3413 - lasser@txstate.edu) and to Becky Northcut, Director, Research Integrity & Compliance (512-245-2314 - bnorthcut@txstate.edu).

Questions about this research should be addressed to [insert your name, phone number and email address.]