Ethical Research

Research can be defined, as a careful and detailed study into a specific problem, concern, or issue using the scientific method, just like when you had to create a science project at school, where you try to learn something by performing an experiment. Using the scientific process, researchers turn the issue into a question and design experiments in order to answer those questions.

Research is designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge and thus ESADE is committed to promoting and upholding the highest quality academic and ethical standards in research related activities.

ESADE seeks to protect the dignity, rights and welfare of all those involved in research (whether they are participants, third parties or staff). Therefore, all studies taking place in the Decision Lab must be approved by ESADE’s Committee on the Use of Human Subjects in Research (CUHSR), which is the  is responsible entity for upholding research governance and ethics policies and procedures.


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What type of studies does the Decision Lab conduct?

Our facilities and software are suitable for a wide range of studies ranging from simple questionnaires to computer role-playing games or performing daily tasks in a simulated scenario such as a supermarket aisle or the living room at home. The length of each study can vary from 10 to 90 minutes.

Online and on site studies

Individual and group studies

Role-playing & gaming

Simulated scenarios

What will I do as a participant?

All our studies will have a detailed description of your role as a participant, but most of the time you will be giving your opinion about different things, such as your preferences for certain products, etc. You may be asked to answer questionnaires or perform computer tasks. Sometimes you will interact with other people -in pairs or groups- to discuss various topics and work together on a task.

What are the benefits of participating?

You will be contributing to advancing academic research on human behaviour and improving decisions for meaningful change.

Every time you participate, you will receive a compensation (cash, credit points or other) depending on your profile or the nature of the study. To know more check the Participation regulation and compensation policies in the Lab rules section.

How can I become a Decision Lab participant?

1. Create an account in our participation system

a. You must be at least 18 years old.


b. Visit ESADE Decision Lab participation system


c. Carefully read the instructions and then proceed to request a new account


d. In courses select the one that fits your profile: “ESADE BBA 1-4” if you are BBA student, “UAB alumnos” o “Otras universidades” if you are a student from other University, “Comunidad de Sant Cugat y otros” if you are not a university student and live in the area.


e.  The system will assign you an anonymous ID code to guarantee that your participation is anonymous. To protect your privacy, you will only be identified to researchers with this unique numeric code, not by your name.


2. SIGN UP! Once you have a participant account, you will be able to:

a. Sign up for studies. Log in to the Decision Lab Participation system, select the study you wish to participate in, and select a timeslot that fits your schedule.


b. Receive weekly email invitations when we are recruiting for new studies, and appointment reminders.


c. Check your schedule and credit points. When you log in on the participation system, you can check your schedule for upcoming lab appointments, view ongoing studies, and review the credit points you have earned.

3. PARTICIPATE! When you attend a study, please remember to:

a. BE ON TIME! Arrive 5 min before the timeslot and notify us if you need to cancel at least 24 hrs before your session.


b. Bring your anonymous ID code so that your attendance can be marked.


c. Follow the instructions given by the Decision Lab staff and behave respectfully.


d. Learn about the study – after you have participated, some researchers may provide you with a debriefing form that outlines the purpose of the study. If you have any further questions, you may contact the researcher at any time.

Decision Lab Rules

1. Please know your rights as a volunteer research participant:

> Know why the research is being done and what you will be doing


> Know that there are no risks associated with your participation


> Be informed of what good may come of the study


> Understand how your private information will be kept safe


> Know who to contact with questions or concerns


> Ask questions at any time


> Decide whether to participate without being pressured


> Drop out at any time without penalty


> Keep a copy of the consent form

2. Lab’s Code of Conduct

By signing up for a study at the ESADE Decision Lab, you are agreeing to abide by this code of conduct. Participants who violate this code may not be invited to participate in future studies.


> BE ON TIME. If you are not ready at your assigned time you will be unable to participate. Please aim to arrive 5 minutes early. Each study is unique, and you may not be able to join the study later, or at another timeslot. Each researcher has the right to refuse participation if the participant arrives late.


> REMEMBER YOUR LAB ID CODE. This is not your student ID! The ID code can be found in your confirmation email when you sign up for a study. Participants are entitled to anonymity and researchers will only have access to your participant ID code, not your name. Your attendance can only be confirmed by using your ID code.


> TAKING PARTICIPATION SERIOUSLY. Please remember that this is someone’s research. The studies for which you receive compensation for participation have taken time and effort to organize. Research results depend on the data you provide during your participation. You should not use your phone while taking part in a study, or access any computer applications other than those you have been asked to use.


> NOTIFYING US WHEN YOU NEED TO CANCEL. If you do not attend your assigned timeslot and have not informed us, you will be marked as an ‘unexcused no-show’. If you need to cancel, please do this through ESADE Decision Lab participation system, by emailing the researcher, or by calling or emailing the lab ( at least 24 hours before your session. After two ‘unexcused no-shows’ you will be automatically prevented from signing up for other studies. Once a new semester begins, all previous unexcused no-shows will be forgiven, and your account will be reactivated.


> RESPECTING PEOPLE AND EQUIPMENT. Participants should treat the Decision Lab facilities, including furniture and equipment, with respect. Behavior that is offensive, disruptive, or dangerous to other participants, researchers, and staff is unacceptable – and may result in the credit/participant payment being withheld, or being prevented from signing up for further studies.


> NO FOOD OR DRINKS IN LAB ROOMS. Eating and drinking is not allowed in the lab rooms, unless otherwise stated by the researchers.


> NO MOBILE USE IN LAB ROOMS. The use of mobile phones, or any other devices in the lab rooms, is prohibited. Please make sure your mobile is silenced during sessions.

3. Participation regulation and compensation policies

All ESADE Decision Lab volunteer participants (ESADE students and external participants) may participate up to 15 studies in an academic year.


All participants will be compensated per participation either by bonus points (ESADE students only) or by other type of compensation (money or others). The base rate for both hourly and performance-based studies adapt to the Decision Lab payment rate of 10€/hour. Payment can be done in cash or via bank transfer depending on the study.


ESADE BBA students taking "Mathematics applied to Management" (BBA1) and "Statistics, Inference & Data Analysis" (BBA2) are eligible for participating in research studies for "Bonus Points for class grades", with the following regulations:


> This is a voluntary activity.


> Eligible research studies offer students the possibility of earning “bonus points for class grades”, once the student has participated in three studies at the Decision Lab over the duration of the course (September-November).


> Participation in three studies is worth 0.5 points added to the student’s final grade. Bonus points cannot be used to pass the course, only to increase the final grade. Students can receive a maximum of 0.5 bonus points.


> Any available studies at the Decision Lab count for bonus points. Course participants receive bonus points in lieu of monetary compensation. 


> Students must participate in three Decision Lab studies in order to be eligible for bonus points. Students who only participate in one or two studies will not receive any bonus points.


> Studies shorter than 45 minutes count as one study; longer studies (one hour or more) count as two studies.


> Students may participate in more than three studies, but once they have received the 0.5 bonus points, they will be compensated for their participation in accordance with the Decision Lab’s payment policies. No extra bonus points will be awarded.


> Studies must not be scheduled during course hours and must not interfere with course activities or assignments.


> Students who sign up to participate in a study and do not show up or arrive too late to be included in a test session will be marked as “no-shows.” In accordance with Decision Lab policy, students’ names will be removed from the participant pool after two “no-shows.”

4. Lab’s cancellation policies

Cancellations in advance: sometimes researchers might need to cancel experimental sessions. If you have signed up for a session that has been cancelled, you will receive at least 24 hours’ notice from the researcher explaining the reason of the cancellation. This notice will be sent to the email account we have in our participation system records, please make sure you have added and to your safe-senders list!


Important: if we have sent a cancellation notice more than twenty-four hours before the scheduled time of the experimental session, you will not qualify for any payment.


Cancellations on site: sometimes studies might not be able to take place at the time of the experimental session due to various reasons:


> The minimum number of required participants to conduct an experiment is not reached.

> A participant is randomly selected not to participate in case of over recruitment.

> Technical difficulties, researcher is not able to attend a session, among others.


If you have arrived on time to your appointment, and the study is cancelled in situ or you are not able to participate for any of these circumstances, you are eligible to receive a cancellation fee of 3 euros.


Important: participants who are “no shows” or arrive too late to a study to be included in the session will not receive any compensation for participation.