Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mysterious "Survey Gizmo" flyers appear, asking for feedback from research subjects

It's hard to know what to make of these flyers, which have begun appearing around the University of Minnesota campus. Apparently posted by the review panelists hired by AAHRPP, the flyers ask former University of Minnesota research subjects to fill out an anonymous questionnaire.

Yet the questions themselves are so general, brief and empty that it is hard to imagine why they were chosen. The question don't deal with psychiatric research, nor do they really reflect the actual concerns that have been raised about research at the U, such as the competence of research subjects, the enrollment of subjects under civil commitment orders, financial conflicts of interest, HIPAA violations, and so on.

The timing is also hard to understand. If the AAHRPP review panel wanted to hear from research subjects, why did the panel wait until after their review was supposed to be finished before posting this survey? The review, which was due in December, has now been postponed until the end of January.

Finally, a question. Wouldn't this survey be very easy to manipulate? Is there anything to prevent responders from lying, or from submitting the survey repeatedly?

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