Upcoming changes to question formats for researchers using Qualtrics

Through a settlement agreement between Ohio State and the federal Office of Civil Rights, the university has pledged to make all of its digital content accessible to individuals with visual impairments who use screen readers to access digital content. Because Qualtrics is licensed at the university level, the university will disable certain question formats that are not compatible with screen readers.

We understand that this poses a problem for many researchers. We have worked with the office of the university’s ADA coordinator to create an exception process for researchers who must have access to these question formats.

The exception process makes exception requests very simple for several common research scenarios:

  • Currently underway research in which data collection is ongoing
  • Research that uses Qualtrics to present visual stimuli (pictures, figures, graphics) to participants
  • Research in which the IRB approval states that individuals with visual impairments are explicitly excluded
  • Research that is attempting exact replication of existing work, where modifying question formats would invalidate the replication

For other scenarios, exception requests will be reviewed by an ad-hoc committee of faculty researchers. Note that, for researchers with multiple active studies, only a single exception need be requested.

If you are in the process of designing new studies using Qualtrics, please consider carefully whether you wish to exclude individuals with visual impairments, even inadvertently. Such exclusions could challenge the validity of your study. Wherever possible, you should try to be as inclusive as possible in selecting your sample of research participants.

We would like to thank the faculty group who developed and reviewed the exception process, with particular thanks to Professors Kelly Garrett and Michael Slater from the School of Communication. We also are grateful to Scott Lissner and Gates Garrity-Rokous in the Office of University Compliance and Integrity, who were open to a process that preserves and facilitates research while simultaneously moving the university toward greater inclusivity.

When will Ohio State disable inaccessible Qualtrics question formats?

  • As of January 1, 2019, users will no longer be able to use inaccessible question formats unless an exception has been granted

How do I request an exception for research?

  • To complete the request for exception, click here

I use QuaItrics for teaching or for administrative purposes. How do I request an exception?

  • To request an exception for teaching or administrative purposes, contact Jay Johnson at johnson.1043@osu.edu