Conducting your own research
Several partners conduct research studies as part of, or alongside, FutureLearn courses. We encourage research in courses, on the understanding that the research maintains a positive and consistent learner experience, is compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and follows our own legal guidelines and research ethics.
Course survey questions can't be removed from open course runs, and we strongly recommend that your own research is conducted in addition to these questions, and not to replace them.
If you would like to ask learners additional course-related questions, the following two options are available. Please note that these options should be used a maximum of twice per course and require consultation with your Partnership Manager.
1. Sharing a survey link in a course step
You can create your own survey using SurveyMonkey, Typeform or Qualtrics, and then link to the survey on an existing course step – your Partnership Manager will offer further guidance on how to do this. The dataset can be linked to FutureLearn’s regular datasets via the learner_id column in the .csv, however, this can only be included if the survey does not collect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about the learner (e.g. name, professional organisation or ethnicity).
2. Sending a survey link in a targeted research email
You can create your own survey and send it to learners who have opted in to receiving research emails, via our targeted email tool. This must be sent through a targeted research email and cannot be sent in a weekly or additional email due to GDPR regulations. Use our helpful example copy. As this email requires manual setup by the courses team, we only recommend using this option if surveying during the course is not suitable (eg. sending an impact survey 6 months after the course ends).
A targeted research email is suitable for research that needs to be sent on a specific date, up to six weeks after the enrolment period ends. At FutureLearn’s discretion, and where there is sufficient reason to believe that the research will be relevant and interesting to learners, this period can be extended. However, it would not be recommended to email learners who have enrolled on a run that finished more than one year ago.
FutureLearn is happy to promote up to two additional learner research engagements or surveys on behalf of partners per course run. For example, one pre- and and one post- impact survey. This limit intends to prevent learners from being overwhelmed by requests from FutureLearn to take part in research.
Learner ids can only be collected if the survey does not ask for any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about the learner (e.g. name, professional organisation or ethnicity).
If you would like to submit a targeted research email, please share the copy and the link to the survey with the partner support team, via firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow at least 10 working days before you wish to send this type of email.
For more details please consult our Research Guidelines.