Audio and Video Conferencing in Human Subjects Research

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Zoom is a video conferencing and recording platform that all Lehigh faculty, staff, and students can access. Researchers may choose to use Zoom to conduct human subjects research when in-person interactions are not able to take place. Please follow the steps below to ensure that all data collected via Zoom is secure and private:

Secure Zoom Settings

1. Use "Computer Audio" only:

Select “Settings” in Zoom.
Select the “Meeting” tab.
Under the “Schedule Meeting” section, find the “Audio Type” heading.
Under “Audio Type,” select “Computer Audio,” and “Save.”

2. Disable Cloud Recordings:

Select the “Recording” tab.
Turn ON the “Local Recording” option.
Turn OFF the “Cloud Recording” option.

Completing these steps enables the researcher to save both audio and video files of Zoom recordings to their computer. Recordings will not be saved to the Zoom cloud, and Zoom will not have access to them. Zoom will also be unable to access the Zoom call as it takes place. In the materials for your IRB application or amendment, please note that you have followed each of these steps outlined above.

In some cases, it may be necessary for researchers to use Cloud Recordings in order to utilize Zoom’s “Audio Transcript” feature. However, this feature may only be used when researchers provide justification for the use of Cloud Recordings in their IRB application. If researchers would like to create Cloud Recordings, participants must provide their consent. Researchers must include the following information in the “Confidentiality” section of the consent form:

a. A statement that recordings will be stored on the Zoom Cloud
b. A statement that the recordings are subject to Zoom’s privacy policy. Participants must be linked to the policy:
c. A description of when recordings will be removed from the Zoom Cloud (this should be done as soon as possible).

3. Set Meeting ID to "Generate Automatically":

When scheduling a meeting, in the "Schedule a Meeting" page, be sure that "Meeting ID" is set to "Generate Automatically." Do NOT select "Personal Meeting ID," as this will generate the same meeting ID for all meetings. 

Requiring Passwords for Zoom Meetings

Passwords should be required for Zoom meetings with research participants. This will prevent uninvited individuals from accessing the meeting. As you schedule the Zoom meeting, check the box to “Require Meeting Password.” Enter the desired password, and share the password with the participant.

In the materials for your IRB application or amendment, please note who will have access to the meeting password. A new link and a new password should be generated for each participant.

All voice and video recordings of research participants are considered identifiable data. Research participants must consent to being recorded before the research begins. In your IRB application, please describe the manner in which participants will be provided the opportunity to consent to the creation and use of these recordings. In the consent form, please describe, 1.) how long recordings will be stored, and 2.) how recordings will be protected.

Zoom is not HIPAA compliant and may not be used for any study involving the collection or use of PHI (protected health information subject to HIPAA).