Payment to Research Subjects

Generally, payments to research participants are made in one of two ways:

Cash

Cash payments can be made. If cash will be used to pay research participants, the cash should be requested by using the Certification for Cash payment to Research Participants form. Once the form is completed and approved, TWU's Office of the Controller will issue a check to the researcher. In turn, the researcher will disburse the funds and document these disbursements. The forms and procedures for using the cash disbursement method can be found on the Office of the Controller's website under Research Participant Funds.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are often used as a method of providing payment to research participants. If using TWU funds to purchase gift cards, the cards should be purchased using a TWU purchasing card (p-card). This purchase is only allowable if the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs approves the purchase of these cards using the procedures described here. First, a Gift Card Certification Form should be completed and signed by the principal investigator and faculty sponsor (if PI is a student). This form should then be submitted to Research and Sponsored Programs for review and approval. Once this request is approved, the gift cards may be purchased using a TWU purchasing card. Researchers may request that ORSP purchase the gift cards once approved. Please allow adequate time for the request to be approved and cards to be purchased. Some credit card vendors (including Walmart) have made policy changes that no longer allow gift cards to be purchased in the store using a credit card. Therefore, additional time is needed to place the orders online and allow for delivery.

For research studies, the researcher must have IRB approval for the study for which the cards will be used before the request may be approved. For non-research studies, which do not require IRB review, payment to participants in a project may be approved if this payment is written into the grant proposal and approved by the funding agency or other documentation regarding the project can be provided to document the need to pay participants. Payment to participants may not be used to pay for the performance of work; other university processes must be followed in these instances.

The approval from ORSP to purchase gift cards must be included by the purchaser with the purchasing card documentation to the Controller's Office when reconciling the p-card. The distribution of gift cards must be documented using the gift card distribution log that is provided by ORSP as part of the approval process. The gift card logs and any remaining gift cards must be submitted to ORSP in order to reconcile the gift card transaction by the expected reconciliation date.