Thanks for your interest, but we have finished the data collection part of our study. We would like to thank all our participants!

Georgia Institute of Technology
Project Title: Studying Online Communities
Investigators: Dr. Amy S. Bruckman, Andrea Forte

Web-based Research Consent Form

You are being asked to be a volunteer in a research study.


The purpose of this study is to examine Internet online communities. We hope to learn more about experiences of their participants as well as their practices.

Most of the researchers in this study are students in the Online Communities course taught by Dr. Bruckman. (more information at This research study is part of their educational experience.


If you decide to be in this study, your part will involve:


The following risks/discomforts may occur as a result of your participation in this study:

There are no foreseeable risks or discomforts in this study. The risks involved are no greater than those involved in daily activities such as speaking on the telephone or using e-mail.

Since many of the researchers are students, there is a slight chance that they will make mistakes or not conduct themselves appropriately during the interview. If this should happen, please contact Dr. Amy Bruckman at telephone (404) 894-9222.


The following benefits to you are possible as a result of being in this study:

You are not likely to benefit in any way from joining this study. However, participation in this study will contribute to our understanding of this type of activity.

Compensation to You

There is no compensation for participation.


The following procedures will be followed to keep your personal information confidential in this study:

To protect your confidentiality, your name will not appear in any publications; a pseudonym (a fake name) will be used instead. However, in the case of quotes from things you have done online (such as blog entries, forum posts, etc), this disguise could be vulnerable - a determined and skillful person could potentially break it. Since many online sites are open to the world, search engines (i.e. Google) index them. As such, a person could take a quote and use a search engine to find the actual page, thereby breaking the pseudonym disguise. We do not anticipate that this research will uncover sensitive information, but in case it does, we will omit direct quotes that could be found in a search engine.

The data that is collected about you will be kept private to the extent allowed by law. To make sure that this research is being carried out in the proper way, the Georgia Institute of Technology IRB may review study records. The Office of Human Research Protections may also look at study records.

In the case of electronic communications and web-based consent, you should be aware, however, that the experiment is not being run from a "secure" https server of the kind typically used to handle credit card transactions, so there is a small possibility that responses could be viewed by unauthorized third parties (e.g., computer hackers).

Using Your Real Name

In some cases, people we interview are proud of things they have done online (for example creative projects) and would like to have their real name listed in our published reports. If you would like to request that we use your real name if possible, please sign below. We will not be able to use your real name if we feel there is anything that might embarrass you in our report. For most people, using a fake name is the right choice, so you do not need to sign here but you may if you wish.

Please use my real name if possible (optional):

Costs to You

There are no costs to you, except for your time.

In Case of Injury/Harm

If you are injured as a result of being in this study, please contact Dr. Amy Bruckman at telephone (404) 894-9222. Neither the Principal Investigator nor Georgia Institute of Technology have made provision for payment of costs associated with any injury resulting form participation in this study.

Subject Rights

Questions about the Study or Your Rights as a Research Subject

Have you read the information on this page and do you agree to participate?
(Select one)

I have read and understand this information and agree to participate.
I do not want to participate.

E-mail address:  (required to confirm identity)

Please print a copy of this page for your personal records