Sharing Results with Participants

Is current?: 

For most research site studies, participants are invited to send an email to the researcher requesting a summary of the results when the study is completed. Such summaries should be delivered promptly as a thank you for their participation, and an incentive for continuing involvement with Project Implicit. This page can be used to post sample summaries and to outline a standard format and style.

Recommendations for result summaries

  1. Summaries should be brief - one single-spaced page
  2. Summaries should be non-technical, but not "dumbed down" -- Participants range from high-school students to PhD's. Summaries can be written at the level of a New York Times article. 
  3. Summaries should assume that the participant has no memory of the study or their participation in it -- while some will remember, others will have forgotten, so a refresher is in order. 
  4. Summaries do not need to include all of the questions that the researcher is interested in. They should be short, straight-forward, engaging, and make one or two points clearly. Sometimes that might involve not even mentioning some of the main purposes of the study if they are most complex or nuanced than can be communicated effectively in a summary. Other reasons for focusing content on a "side purpose" of the study is if the main purpose really won't be that interesting to the general public. For example, if a study is comparing procedural features of an implicit measure, the participant summary might focus on the main idea of the measure, how it aims to assess implicit cognitions, and what the group showed as a whole and ignore the procedural manipulations all together.
  5. Pictures are nice. If there is a simple figure or graphic that illustrates the main idea, include it. Remember, however, that many participants will not be acquainted with reading technical graphs, so they should be presented VERY simply. A common one could be showing a histogram distribution of results on an implicit measure as is done at the end of all the demo tasks. (Sample attached at the bottom of the page.)
  6. An attachment of a popular piece about the research can be a nice add-on. For example, the Scientific American or Washington Post Magazine write-ups are accessible and interesting. Alternatively, a link to a youtube video about the project could be nice: there is a Dateline NBC from 2000, and a Scientific American Frontiers episode from 01/02 that are nice.
  7. Conclude with a thank you, link to the Project Implicit site, and encouragement to participate in the future.