Adding and Inviting Participants without Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

In some situations a project or a recruiter will not allow for participants’ personal identifiable information (PII) to appear on the Recollective platform. When this occurs, additional steps must be taken to ensure these participants are added and invited smoothly and successfully.

By default, participants are able to modify their standard account fields such as first and last name when they register their account to join the study. To ensure that they don’t update their account to include PII, the ability to modify these fields must be disabled.

 In this article we will review: 

Adding Participants without PII

Firstly, to add participants without personal identifiable information to a study, the required method is to use the Bulk Import with an excel file that includes only the following standard fields: 

  • External ID: Any unique value assigned to the users from an external system. This identifier must be unique across all Panelists and Admins. 
  • Username: They must be unique across all Panelists and Admins and cannot contain spaces or use special characters (dashes and underscores are permitted).
  • Password: We recommend creating the same password for all participants (e.g. recollective123 or studytopic123)

Once you’ve uploaded the bulk import file and gotten to the Import Settings stage, ensure that only ‘Password must be changed upon first visit’ is enabled below the Account Settings header which is the default before clicking ‘Start Import’. 

Inviting Participants without PII

As email addresses were not added to each account, participants must be invited externally from the platform. To achieve this, all that needs to be provided to them is the site URL, their username and their temporary password that was set when they were added. For example: 

  • Go to the site URL:
  • Username: New_York
  • Password: recollective123 (you will be prompted to change this once you first login) 

Once they’ve registered, they will change their password and then can use the username you provided and the password that they set to login in the future.

Reminder: When email addresses are not provided, participants will not receive any automated email notifications. Due to this, it is recommended that the recruiter or whomever is contacting the participants externally, send reminders to notify them of new Activities or if they are falling behind. That said, when participants are logged in, they will receive these as notifications (bell icon) at the top right of the study.

Modify account fields settings to not include PII

By default participants are able to modify their account fields when they register their account to join the study or by going to their Account Settings. To ensure that they don’t update their account to include PII, for example, adding their first or last name, the ability to modify these fields must be disabled.

To achieve this, navigate to Site Administration > Site Setup > Account Settings and scroll down to the Account Fields header: 

By default, participants will be able to modify their first name, last name, email address, username, password and have the option to upload a profile photo. For a study where no personal identifiable information (PII) should be available,  disable all account fields displayed (First name, Last name, Email Address, Username, and Profile Photo).

Checking off the 'Customize fields available during account registration' box will present a second column of options, allowing you to customize which fields panelists can edit during Account Registration (i.e. initial login) vs. Account Updates (future visits to the site). If any fields are enabled, participants may add PII. For example, a participant might choose a username that includes their first and last name. Disabling all fields on both the Account Registration and Account Settings paged is advised for total anonymity.

Once you’ve followed these three steps, your study is ready for launch!

Keep in mind that these steps ensure that participants do not have personal identifiable information included in any standard account fields associated with their accounts but participants could still include this information when they respond to questions and exercises. To reduce the likelihood of this occurring, it is recommended to add a reminder on the homepage and throughout your Activities to not provide this information. 

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