Using the myAnnouncement composer to recruit volunteers for research studies

The lists of staff and student volunteers maintained by the University of Sheffield provide a valuable opportunity to recruit large and varied samples at little cost and over a short time scale. There is, however, pressure to reduce the amount of email that students and staff receive. Therefore we need to minimise the number of requests that we make to this list. In order to manage requests, the moderators of the volunteers lists will only accept requests from Thomas Webb (as Chair of the Department of Psychology Ethics Committee) or Richard Rowe (as Director of Research).

Requests to access the volunteers lists should therefore be made by completing the form below. In order to minimise our demands on the volunteers lists, only projects that meet the criteria below will be circulated and each research study can only be advertised once. Therefore, please consider the timing of your message carefully. If you have any queries, please contact Thomas Webb.

i) The research has received ethical approval from the Department of Psychology Ethics Subcommittee (DESC) - please also ensure that you state that this is the case in the body of your email.

(ii) The person requesting use of the list is a student or member of staff in the Department of Psychology (or is working with such a person)

iii) Other sources of recruitment (e.g., the psychology undergraduate participant panel, social media) have been considered and / or tried and have been deemed unsuitable.

iv) The research is likely to lead to publication in a peer-reviewed journal. 

The body of your email should explicitly state that you are requesting volunteers to take part in a research project. For example, rather than saying "You are invited to complete an online questionnaire..." say "You are invited to take part in a research project that involves completing an online questionnaire..."

If you are offering an incentive (e.g., entry into a prize draw or another form of remuneration) please consider whether the level of incentive is appropriate (an excessively high incentive could be seen as coercive, but an insufficient incentive may lead to a low level of uptake or a biased sample (e.g., only those who are particularly interested in the topic). There are a number of useful discussions of this issue - e.g., by Groth (2010), Singer and Couper (2008), and others.

Finally, if you plan to offer a cash incentive then please note that this should not be considered earnings, but rather compensation for time and expenses (please see University guidance on this issue). Note also that the myAnnouncements composer does not recognise '£' signs. Therefore, please say "pounds" instead.