Statement for Research Ethics Committees

The PIEL Survey meets the high levels of confidentiality required by research ethics committees.

Confidentiality

There are two files used by the App. The Control File is provided by the researcher and this controls the questions. The Data File is created on the participants’ phone or device and holds the answers to the questions.

There is no significant confidentiality risk with the PIEL Survey for the following reasons.

  1. The PIEL Survey app is different from many survey apps in that there is no database at the back end. All data is stored on the participant's phone or device in a Data File.
  2. The participant has to take action to release the data by pressing a "send" button to send this data to the researcher by email. The only other way to get the data is by file sharing. This would require physical access to the phone and knowledge of the phone password.
  3. The email address is preset in the Control File by the researcher.
  4. There is no way to identify a participant apart from the ID provided by the researcher within the Control File and also in the Data File. The researcher should use an ID that does not identify the participant until the code is broken during data analysis.
  5. The Data File does not contain the questions; they are identified only by number.
  6. All data can be deleted by the participant at any time, using commands within the app or else by uninstalling the app, even before sending it to the researcher.

Marketing

The PIEL App is provided as a free service to the research community through the Apple App Store. There is no marketing material within the app or on the website.

The PIEL Survey receives no sponsorship from commercial entities and relies totally on donations. The app does not even mention donations. The website does discretely mention donations, while making clear that the app is free. Since the app is downloaded free from the Apple App Store, participants will not see the website unless they investigate the source of the app.

The PIEL Survey does not have access to any personal details of users of the app and does not send out marketing materials.