Multi-Part Online Studies

You may create a multi-part online study in the system, up to 4 parts. Often these are studies involving memory research, where the participant must participate a certain number of hours or days after the previous part.
There are a few constraints to be aware of when setting up this type of study:

  • This feature is only supported with online external (web) studies, not the internal online survey feature.
  • The Study URL for each part of the study must be unique, so the system is clear about which URL applies to which part of the study. For example, the URL for part 1 and part 2 can’t point to the same Qualtrics URL. If you intend to ask the same questions in each part of the study, make a copy of the survey so each part has a unique URL.
  • The time separation between each part is based on when the participant was granted credit (participation marked) for the previous part. For this reason, setting up the External Study Credit Granting feature is highly recommended since then the participation is marked automatically. When setting up this integration, be aware the crediting URL is also unique to each part of the study
  • When specifying time separation between each part of the study, it is based on hours and not days, but you may specify large numbers like 168 hours for a 7-day separation. You specify the number of hours after the previous was completed that the next part will become available, and for how many hours it will remain available. We recommend having it available for at least 12 hours, so participants have enough time to access the study.
  • You may use different survey products for each part (e.g. Qualtrics for part 1, SurveyMonkey for part 2), or the same product for each part.
  • When setting up timeslots, the timeslot for part 1 functions as the participation deadline for just that part, similar to with single-part online external studies, and it effectively functions as the deadline when participants can start the process of completing all parts of the study (though in practice they will all sign up a lot earlier). You also need to set up timeslots for the other parts of the study. For simplicity, you can set the timeslots for the other parts to be somewhat far in the future – the effective maximum date/time of participation will be based on when the participant completes the previous part, and the latest they can complete part 1 is based on the timeslot for part 1

Participants are given access to the URL for each part of the study at the appropriate time. They are provided a URL that does not point directly to the Study URL, but instead to the system, which then redirects them to the correct URL after first checking it is OK to send them to that URL (based on the time separation between parts).
Participants receive a link to each part of the study in the confirmation email after they sign up for the study. They also receive an email with a link to the next part, as soon as they are given credit for the previous part, and that email details when the next part will be available. An email will also be sent the moment the next part become available. They also receive an email reminder if the next part became available in the last 24 hours and is still available and they have not already participated. This reminder is sent daily when the usual study appointment reminders are sent. They can also log in to the system and go to My Schedule to access the URL.
When creating a study, you may specify the scheduling range for the each part of the study in hours (e.g. 72 hours after the previous part, and available for 24 hours). Participants are required to sign up for all parts at the same time, to reduce the chance of forgetting to sign up for all parts. Each part of a multi-part study may have a different credit or payment value, and duration, but each part must be the same compensation type. All parts must be for credit or all parts must be for compensation. If you have a study where one part is in-person and the other part is online, you will need to set up two separate studies and link them using pre-requisites.
You should ensure all parts of the study have a timeslot available, or participants will be prevented from signing up for the study. For online studies, since the timeslot date functions as a participation deadline, it’s often easiest to just set up a single timeslot for each part all with the same date, time, and capacity.
Participants may cancel any part of their sign-up if necessary. If they cancel the one part, all subsequent parts are automatically cancelled as well. If they cancel any part other than the first part, you will need to manually sign them up (if you are allowed to do so) to participate in the cancelled parts of the study at a later date. You may also ask the administrator to handle this.
If you grant a no-show for the one part of a multi-part study, the subsequent parts of that participant’s sign-up will not be cancelled automatically. However, you will be reminded of the situation in case you would like to cancel the subsequent parts. The cancellation is not automatic as there are some situations where automatic cancellation is not desirable.

Multi-Part Online Study Configuration Scenarios

Listed below are some common scenarios and how to configure them in the system. The example used below is for a two-part study for simplicity, but would apply just as well to studies with more parts.

Scenario Scheduling Range Configuration (Part 2)
Second part to take place a week later,
and be available for 24 hours.
Available After: 168 hours
Available For: 24 hours
Second part to take place immediately
after completing first part, and be available
for 12 hours
Available After: 0 hours
Available For: 12 hours

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