At any time during or after their participation, participants may decide to withdraw from your study. Here we explain how participants can do so using the Ethica app, and how you can get a report on those who dropped out. Further, we show how you can set up a survey to be asked from participants before they leave the study, in order to capture the underlying reasons.

Study Dropout

Participants can drop out of a study using the Ethica app. To do so, they should open the Ethica app, navigate to Settings → My Studies, select your study from the list, and from the About Study page, tap on the Drop Out of The Study button.

Ethica study about page in Android

When the button is tapped, the app asks the participant to confirm their decision. If they choose Yes, first Ethica checks if your study has any Dropout Survey. If yes, the participant is asked to complete the Dropout Survey. When the participant completes or cancels the survey, or if you have not set any Dropout Survey for your study, Ethica continues with the dropout process and withdraws the participant from the study.

Note that when a participant drops out of your study, or you drop out a participant, the data collection is stopped immediately, but all data they have provided up to that point, and their participation record, will be retained. So you will still see the participant ID in the list of your participants. Their record will be marked as Dropped.

Ethica study's list of participants including dropped ones

The participant can join in your study again in the future. In this case, Ethica will reuse their existing participation record. This means if they try to join the study prior to their individual participation end time, Ethica resumes their participation up to that end time. If they try to join after their individual participation end time, they receive an error message saying they have already finished their participation in your study.

Keep in mind participants can also withdraw from your study by simply uninstalling the Ethica app from your phone. Ethica doesn't track whether a participant has uninstalled the app from their device or not. So in this case the participant appears in the list of participants just like a normal participant, with zero compliance.

Dropout Survey

When a participant decides to drop out of your study, it's very helpful to understand the reason. You can do that using a Dropout Survey in Ethica. This survey will be shown immediately before the participant is dropped out of your study. Note that whether they complete and submit the survey, they will proceed with the dropout.

To add a Dropout Survey to your study, start by navigating to the Researcher Dashboard and click on Activitiesfrom the right-side menu. On the Activities page, click on the New button. This will create a new Survey with the default settings. In the Content section of your new survey, add the questions you want to ask the participants before they drop out of your study.

After adding the questions, switch to the Triggering Logics and click on the Dropout from the list of triggering logics types. Then move to the Preview and Publish tap. In there, click on the Publish tab on the right-side panel. Enter a Version Note as necessary, and then click on the Publish button to publish your survey.

Now anytime one of your participants decides to drop out of your study, they will see the survey you just created.