Please note that the following content is out of date. We are working on rewriting this article based on the latest changes made to the Ethica notifications. Thanks for your patience.


In most cases, your study prompts an activity to a participant when he or she is not interacting with the Ethica app and possibly is away from her phone. For example, an activity with Time-Triggered Triggering Logic is prompted at a certain time, and very likely the participant is not using the Ethica app exactly at the time that the activity is prompted. Therefore, you need to notify the participant about the new activity. Further, if the participant does not complete the activity after some time, you might want to remind him or her about.

To do that, you can add one or more Notifications to your study. Ethica supports 3 types of Notifications:

  • In-app notification
  • SMS (text) notification
  • Emails

Note that if an activity is prompted via an Eligibility, Dropout, or User Triggering Logic, Ethica will not send any notifications or reminders to the participant. That's because the participant is actively using the Ethica app when either of these activities is being prompted.

You do need to define notifications for activities with Time or Proximity Triggering Logic. A Time TL can use any of the Notification types specified above. For example, you can notify the participant via an in-app notification as soon as a survey activity is prompted, then after 30 minutes if they have not responded to the survey yet, then send them a text (SMS) notification.

For Proximity TL Ethica only supports in-app notifications. That's because SMS and Email notifications should be sent by the Ethica server, while Proximity TL is handled by the Ethica app. Therefore Ethica server does not know when a session is prompteded via Proximity TL to send SMS or Email notifications.

By default, all Notifications you have added to your activity are used for every Triggering Logic of type Time or Proximity. If necessary, you can configure your Triggering Logic to use only a subset of the Notifications from the activity.

In-App Notification

The following image shows the dialog for adding an in-app notification to your activity:

Defining In-App Notification for Ethica Survey

Here you need to specify the title and the description of the notification which will be shown to the participant. You also should determine how long after the Scheduled Time the notification should be sent. This time should be a positive value which is less than the expiry time of the survey. If the survey is not responded to by the specified time, the Ethica app will automatically issue this notification.

This notification is issued regardless of whether the participant is online, has network coverage, or not. The only requirement is that the participant should have the Ethica app installed on their smartphone. If the participant is using Ethica's web-based app on their phone's or computer's browser and does not have the Ethica app installed, this type of notification will be silently discarded.

The in-app notification sent by Ethica is similar to the notification the participant receives if they have a new email or text message. The sound and vibration of the notification are set based on the phone's general settings. Therefore, if the phone is set to vibrate-only or silent, this notification will also behave accordingly.

Tapping on the notification will open the Ethica app and take the participant directly to the survey. Participants may also choose to dismiss the notification and open the app directly to see the survey.

SMS Notification

The following image shows the dialog for adding an SMS notification to your survey:

Defining In-App Notification for Ethica Survey

SMS notifications are sent by the Ethica server to the participant's validated phone number. Therefore, in order for a participant to receive this type of notification, both your study should require phone number validation, and also the participant should have validated their phone number. If your study does not require phone number validation and you try to add a notification of this type, Survey Editor allows you to modify the study such that the phone number verification is mandatory. The following image shows the related dialog in the Survey Editor:

Phone Number Validation in Survey Editor

When your study requires phone number validation, Ethica will ask participants to validate their phone number. The SMS notifications are not used for participants until they successfully validate their phone number.

Note that this type of notification requires the participant to behave cellular coverage in order to receive the text messages. Also as the notification is sent from the server, if the participant has the Ethica app installed and responds to the survey, but does not have an Internet connection to upload the survey responses, there is a possibility for the participant to receive a text message asking them to respond to the survey while they already have done so.

Also, keep in mind that this type of notification may incur additional charges to the participant, depending on their cellular plan.

Email Notification

For surveys prompted via a Time Triggering Logic, you can choose to notify participants or send them a reminder via an email. The following image shows the dialog for adding an email notification to your survey:

Defining Email Notification for Ethica Survey

Similar to the SMS notifications, Email notifications are only available if your study requires participants to validate their email, and also are only sent to those participants who have validated their email address.