Web Survey Core

Andrew Vickers (Core Facility Head)




To create online surveys for data capture in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center studies or as part of standard care.

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Administration of surveys can be time-consuming and expensive, often involving creation of a paper questionnaire, distribution to respondents, and hand-entry of collected data into a database. In addition to inefficiencies, such an approach may not be compliant with institutional or regulatory standards for data security and privacy. With computer-based methods of data acquisition, a researcher may realize better response rates, reduced data entry errors, lower costs, improved survey administration, and appropriate security/privacy of collected information.

See an example electronic survey.

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How We Can Help

Whether a one-time, longitudinal, single-site, collaborative multi-site, patient or clinician-based study, the Web Survey Core’s team will help design an electronic survey that will safely and securely capture key data for your study. The Web Survey Core develops surveys for projects in the four categories listed below:

  • Surveys for Memorial Sloan Kettering protocols
  • Surveys for multi-center protocols where Memorial Sloan Kettering is a collaborating site
  • Surveys for Memorial Sloan Kettering research that is exempt from IRB/PB review
  • Surveys as part of standard care

It is the responsibility of the client to ensure appropriate institutional approvals have been obtained to establish which of the categories listed above is applicable to their study and what institutional, external, or regulatory approvals/procedures are necessary. Participation of the Web Survey Core does not indicate institutional approval. To determine if your project requires IRB approval, please contact your institution’s IRB.

Following an initial meeting with the investigator to review specific questionnaire items, web page design options and functionality, we will implement an architecture which meets your needs and conforms to institutional requirements for privacy and network security. In addition, the Web Survey Core’s team can arrange testing, assess usability prior to formal administration of the survey and develop specific reports for data analysis.

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  • Consolidates technical expertise
  • Ensures security and privacy compliance
  • Improves efficiency and reduces administrative costs
  • Centralizes data storage
  • Fosters standardization of presentation and production of research surveys
  • Encourages use of electronic/automated tools
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Frequently Asked Questions

On a research study, is it okay to store identifying data for outside patients in the Web Survey Core database?

The external site would need to list the Memorial Sloan Kettering Web Survey Core staff in their protocols and consent forms/ Research Authorizations as one of the parties to whom data is disclosed.

On a research study, the surveys can have a feature to remind patients/participants to fill out surveys. What are the IRB/PB requirements for the Web Survey Core to contact non-MSKCC patients/participants in this type of research study?

The protocol and consent form should indicate that representatives/reminders from the MSKCC Web Survey Core will be contacting patients/participants about their survey(s).

On a research study, is there standard language that I can include in my IRB submission or grant application describing the Web Survey Core?

Get the verbiage to include in an IRB protocol or grant application describing the Web Survey Core. The Web Survey Core should be mentioned in both protocols and consent forms as having access to data for collection, storage and analysis purposes.

Web Survey Core of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is an institutional resource which assists investigators to create secure electronic surveys for use in research. The Core includes programmers to create study-specific surveys, and maintains servers for secure administration and storage of data. Web Survey Core surveys are capable of communicating with the MSKCC Clinical Trials Research Database (CRDB), which is the institution’s standard repository for secure storage of patient study data. Web Survey Core surveys can also communicate with Caisis, which is an open-source, web-based cancer data management system that integrates research with patient care. The server configuration and specifications for the Web Survey Core are compliant with current standards for data safety and privacy and have undergone formal privacy and security review. Complex functionality of surveys including skip patterns, interactive questions, and two-way communication is available. Surveys can be accessed from any computer or other device connected to the Internet. Services available from the Core include online survey development; usability testing; survey maintenance during studies; data storage; and data retrieval for analysis.

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Current Projects

We are currently working across multiple departments within MSKCC including the Departments of Psychology & Behavioral Sciences, Medicine, Surgery, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Urology, and Radiation Oncology. Our surveys are included in clinical trials, epidemiologic/screening studies, dedicated evaluations of quality of life and symptoms, health services research, and surveys of clinicians/professionals.

If you are interested in The Web Survey Core team assisting in developing an online survey please fill out the submission form.

Once the form has been submitted, you will be contacted by a member of the team. In the event you have any additional questions, please contact us at webcore@mskcc.org.

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Agreement to the Terms of the Web Survey Core

Review the Web Survey core guidelines and policies.

It is the responsibility of the client to obtain approval from their institution for a planned survey, its method of administration or analysis. The requesting client is responsible for ensuring all appropriate permissions and protections have been secured to ensure appropriate protection of patient/participant information collected and stored by the Web Survey Core. The Web Survey Core does not take responsibility in this area and clients are advised to work with their departments/institutions and contact offices managing regulatory and compliance. The Web Survey Core is not responsible for obtaining IRB approval and collaboration with the Web Survey Core does not imply Memorial Sloan Kettering IRB/PB approval or oversight. The Web Survey Core creates surveys based upon information provided by investigators or their staff under the assumption that all institutional approvals have been addressed prior to any research being initiated. By making use of services provided by the Web Survey Core, it is the assumption of the Web Survey Core that the client has obtained appropriate permissions and the Web Survey Core may request documentation that proper permissions were approved.

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