Frequently Asked Questions

Who we are

Becoming a panelist

More about our prizes

More about your privacy

Change email, get password, unsubscribe


Who we are

Q: Who are the people running CivicPanel?

CivicPanel is a project of the Center for Experimental and Behavioral Public Administration (CEBPA) at the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA), Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA. The founder and director of the project is Gregg Van Ryzin, PhD, a professor at Rutgers SPAA and co-director of CEBPA. Graduate students and staff affiliated with CEBPA at Rutgers SPAA help run the project.

Q: Who funds CivicPanel?

CivicPanel is a university-affiliated, nonprofit project initially funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The project is currently funded by Rutgers University, Newark through the Chancellor’s Seed Grant Program and by SPAA as part of the Center for Experimental and Behavioral Public Administration (CEBPA).

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Becoming a panelist

Q: Who can become a panelist?

Anyone 18 years of age or older can become a panelist.

Q: What if I don't live in the NY/NJ, or even the US?

We encourage you to become a panelist, even if you do not live in the New York/New Jersey area -- or the United States. Although some of our surveys do focus mostly on NY/NJ, other surveys cover all of the US or even other cities or parts of the world.

Q: How do I sign up to be a panelist?

Just go to the Sign Up page on our website, complete the breif form, and click the submit button. You will then receive an email message asking you to confirm your membership. When you respond to the confirmation email, you are then added to our list.

Q: How often will I get a survey sent to me?

CivicPanel surveys get sent only once every month or two, depending on where you live and other considerations. As a panelist, you always have the right to choose whether or not to participate in any particular survey.

Q: What kinds of surveys will you send me?

CivicPanel surveys focus on issues related to government, public affairs, and community quality of life. Topics may include public parks, public safety, the economy, e-government, civic engagement, the environment, transportation, government transparency, and so on. Our surveys are sponsored only by legitimate nonprofit or academic organizations. And, our surveys are short, typically requiring only about 10 minutes to complete. We will not send you any political, religious, or marketing surveys. And you always have the right to choose which surveys you want or don’t want to complete.

Q: Can I get friends or neighbors to join?

Of course -- feel free to let others know about CivicPanel. (However, please do not send any unsolicited email or SPAM).

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More about our prizes

Q: How do you award prizes?

CivicPanel awards prizes in the form of gift certificates. Several respondents to each survey are selected at random as winners, and the gift certificates are sent to them via email several weeks after the survey closes. The gift certificates are sent to the email address associated with the completed questionnaire.

Q: How big are the prizes, and how many do you award?

With each survey we award multiple prizes of various sizes. Typically, we send about fifteen awards of $20 each, although we may award more or larger prizes for some special surveys. The specific awards for each survey are described in the survey invitations you will receive or the survey welcome page.

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More about your privacy

Q: What will you do with my personal information?

The information you provide when you sign up, or when you participate in a survey, is for research purposes only. When you sign up, we collect only limited identifying information that we need to invite you to participate in our surveys -- such as your name (so we can personalize our messages to you), email address, and postal code. This information is never sold or given to outside individuals or organizations. When you complete our surveys, we may collect additional demographic information from you such as age, gender, race, and income (in broad categories). This information is used only to classify and compare responses to survey questions and not to identify you individually. We maintain a strict privacy and confidentiality policy in accordance with established standards of ethical survey research.

Q: Who has access to my information?

Only the researchers and staff of CivicPanel will have access to your sign up information, such as your name and email address. We keep this information in a separate database from the one that contains your answers to survey questions. Outside groups that use CivicPanel to do a survey receive only the anonymous answers to survey questions. Your sign up information will always remain confidential.

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Change your email, get password, or unsubcribe

Q: How do I change my email address?

If your are already a member, go to our signup page to update your email address or other information, or send an email to

Q: How do I unsubscribe?

If you are already on our list and wish to unsubscribe, simply send an email to with unsubscribe in the subject line. Please be sure to send this message from the email address in your current Profile. (See "How do I change my email address?" above for directions on how to check or change the email address in your Profile.) Or you can simply reply to any of our survey invitations with unsubscribe in the subject line.

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