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ExploringMyReligion.Org Privacy Statement

Our goal is to conduct research on religion and spirituality. We are committed to conducting this research ethically and to protecting your privacy. The surveys and studies on this site will ask you questions about your personality, attitudes, behaviors, and values. You may choose to take as many or as few of the studies as you desire. There are no risks or benefits to you by participating in the surveys on this site. You may stop a survey at any time just by simply closing your browser, with no penalty to yourself. Incomplete surveys might not be included in analysis.

What we collect

At registration we request that you tell us some information about yourself that will help us to analyze your other responses. We ask you to provide us with an email address because that is a kind of username that people are unlikely to forget, and because it is useful if we have to reset your login credentials. However, you may use any username you like. When you participate in any of our studies you provide responses to questionnaires. We store all of this information on a secure server. The file containing your email address and the files containing your responses to the studies are stored separately, in separate databases with different passwords, and cannot be merged or interpreted by anyone, not even researchers working on projects on the site. The password you chose is stored in an encrypted form, which means that even we cannot find out what it is. If you forget your password, you will be given the opportunity to reset your password, but we cannot send it because it is stored on our server in a form that we cannot unencrypt.

What we will do with your information

To analyze the results of the various studies conducted on this site, we create a variety of merged files that combine the information you gave us at registration with the information you gave us on each study you completed. These files of information from registration do NOT contain your email or password, so these merged files are essentially anonymous. Some of these files will contain IP address information in order to identify usage patterns by country/state and to prevent duplicate submissions; however, most IP addresses are not fixed and, even if known, are traceable only to the organization that provides you with internet access. As a practical matter, it is generally impossible to identify a user with an IP address without the cooperation of an internet service provider, which usually is not given without a subpoena. These merged files are then sent out to the members of the research consortium that runs this site. At times we might send these files out to other researchers, as part of normal scientific courtesy, if they think that the data in these files could help them to answer scientific questions. Again, these files will not contain any information that could lead anyone to identify the people who provided the data. We will carefully guard your privacy. We plan to keep these merged data files for many years. We might place some of this anonymous numerical data into a 'data archive' of the sort that some scientists use to make it easy for scientists to check each other’s work. We will write up scientific articles that report the results of our studies by reporting the averages and other statistics computed across data from many people. In the rare cases that we report a quote from text that a participant typed into a text box, we will be certain that such quotes do not reveal the identity of the source.

Collaborations with other groups

From time to time we collaborate with other groups. Typically these are teams of researchers like ourselves; sometimes they may be religious or social groups interested in the scientific study of religion and spirituality. In some cases, collaborating groups already known to you will ask us to give you the opportunity to enter a "link code" that they send to you in an invitation email. This "link code" enables the collaborating group to link information we collect at this site with information they already have, while maintaining your anonymity on this site. Entering the "link code" is entirely up to you. There is no disadvantage or advantage to you regardless of your choice. Entering the "link code" will yield a richer data set for the collaborating group, and in some cases they may share anonymous portions of that dataset with researchers in our group. In cases where a "link code" is used, we will always explain your choice and what it means for you.

How we use cookies

We will not place any cookies in your browser without your consent. When cookies are allowed they will only be used to manage each session you have at the web site. The cookies make sure that you and only you are able to view your scores.

Web-related information we collect automatically

Like almost all Web sites, we automatically collect information on all requests for pages from our Web server. We collect the IP address of your Internet connection (which generally does not identify you), what you requested, and what was sent. This helps us understand usage of the Web site and allows us to produce aggregate statistics on usage.

Security of the data we collect

We take reasonable technical, administrative, and physical precautions to keep your information secure. We store your responses in a password-protected database located in a secure data center. Email address information is stored separately from your responses and requires a separate password to access, and that password is not available to researchers.

If you have any questions, you should feel free to contact Dr. Wesley J. Wildman (wwildman at bu dot edu). You may obtain further information about your rights as a research participant by calling the Boston University Charles River Campus Institutional Review Board Office at 617-358-6115.