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The eLab Panel

What is it?

The eLab online panel is an opt-in, informed consent, privacy protected "subject pool" for the Web-based research experiments and surveys conducted by resident/affiliated faculty and post-doctoral fellows at Vanderbilt University.

A few times a year, we invite our Panel members to participate in eLab's online experiments and surveys. These cutting-edge research projects may cover a wide variety of academic research topics such as how consumers like you behave and react in online settings.

Your participation is vital. As an eLab panel member, you will not only contribute to the creation of new knowledge, but can also influence how companies actually do business with you.


Who can join?

You must be 18 years or older to join the eLab panel. Membership is available to both domestic and international participants.


What are the incentives for membership and participation?

Every month eLab holds a random drawing for a cash prize of $250 or more. As a registered panelist, you are eligible for the drawing. Your chance of winning increases as you participate in our experiments and surveys. Drawings are held the last day of every month. The lucky winners receive their checks within about 6-8 weeks of the drawing date. Prizes must be claimed within 2 weeks of notification and require completion of a W-9 form (for U.S. tax residents) or completion of a "Prize Statment" form (for non-U.S. tax residents) which we must provide to the IRS in accordance with U.S. tax law and university policy. Non-U.S. tax residents will also be contacted by the international tax office to provide further information to facilitate processing of payments.

Each study completion will add an additional chance in the monthly drawings with one exception - the "Three Strikes" rule. If you choose to not participate in three consecutive experiments or surveys that we invite you to join, your number of chances in the monthly drawings will be reset back to zero. If set to zero, you can begin to earn chances again by participating in our research, when you are selected. You can check the current number of chances you have earned by viewing your profile.

Additionally, if you choose to participate in an eLab experiment or survey, you are also eligible for separate drawings for cash prizes of $100 or more or, in some cases, for direct compensation. Please note that everyone who participates in this experiment or survey has the same chance of winning in these special drawings, regardless of how many monthly drawing chances they have earned.Prizes/compensation for each experiment must be claimed within 2 weeks of notification and require completion of a W-9 form (for U.S. tax residents) or a "Prize Statement" form (for non-U.S. tax residents) which we must provide to the IRS in accordance with U.S. tax law and university policy. Non-U.S. tax residents will also be contacted by the international tax office to provide further information to facilitate processing of payments. Any experiment prizes/compensation which remain unclaimed 2 weeks after notification may be awarded to another eligible panelist where applicable.


How are payments issued?

All payments over $50 will be issued as a U.S. bank check via postal mail. Please note that payments to non-U.S. tax residents may be subject to withholdings as per U.S. tax laws.

Payments under $50 may be issued via PayPal and require a free account and registered email to process. In most cases, we will attempt to cover the fees associated with these payments.

We are aware that there may be some inconvenience to non-U.S. panelists who may incur a processing fee from their bank to cash checks or from the necessity of creating a PayPal account, but these are the only options currently allowed by university regulation and we cannot make other arrangements for payment.

Although the IRS does not require a W-9 to be submitted until compensation reaches $600, Vanderbilt University cannot determine when that limit is reached across all its departments without certain information being provided to tie that information together. As such, university policy is that this information must be provided by legal U.S. tax residents for amounts of $100 or more. For amounts under $100, the recipient will assume responsibility for reporting their earnings to the IRS as required by law.

In the case of non-U.S. tax residents, the IRS requires that they be identified and appropriate withholdings applied to payments.


How is my information used?

All panelist information is confidential, and used for academic research purposes only, in strict accordance with the eLab Privacy Policy and Vanderbilt University Institutional Review Board standards.

eLab panel members have complete control over their profiles and participation in the panel through the use of the eLab Panel registration pages. You may edit your panel profile information at any time and you may permanently opt-out of the eLab panel at any time.


How do I get selected for a study?

Selection for experiments is based upon current research needs and specified study demographics, however we run a large number of studies with a wide range of demographic requirements. You may not see an invitation immediately, but that doesn't mean we've forgotten you! Just by virtue of being an eLab panelist, you continue to be eligible for our monthly prize drawings, regardless of whether or not you have been invited to any experiments.

I'm not getting study invitations!

Because of the fickle nature of bulk emailing, legitimate, opt-in services such as eLab are sometimes identified improperly as suspected spammers. If you want to make sure you receive invitations from us, there are several ways to identify us as a legitimate email source.

Please bear in mind that we will not ever contact you about anything which does not pertain to Vanderbilt-sponsored or affiliated research. All of our studies fuel higher education initiatives, not for-profit ventures (see: How is my information used?).