GB1900 Volunteer Study: Participant Information

            Title of Project: GB1900 volunteer study

            Name and Contact Details of Researcher(s):
            Humphrey Southall:,
            Paula Aucott:,
            Carol Ekinsmyth:
            Ethics Committee Reference Number: 547559

            Study Summary

            This study is concerned with how volunteers have contributed to the GB1900 project, what they got out of it and what problems they have had. This is important because it will help us create better online resources for local history and more generally contribute to the development of “citizen science”.

            What is the purpose of the study?

            We have three main aims. Firstly, to contribute to the overall development of “citizen science” by showing how working on particular local areas that matter to them affects the motivation of volunteers: we will publish this as an academic article. Secondly, to help plan future online projects, and make them as helpful as possible to our users: this study will help shape a new funding bid. Thirdly, to help us show to those who fund us how our work benefits the general public: we need to show not just that many people use our web sites, but to report on what our sites help people to do.

            Why have I been invited?

            We are inviting all contributors to the project to take part in the survey, except those who have previously opted out of the GB1900 mailing list.

            Do I have to take part?

            No, taking part in this research is entirely voluntary. It is up to you to decide whether you want to help us, as explained below.

            What will happen to me if I take part?

            If you are willing to take part, simply click on the link in the invitation email and start completing the questionnaire. We expect this to take 10 to 15 minutes, and then you are done.

            The questions cover your reasons for getting involved and your experiences working on the project, and end with a few very general questions about yourself, such as general age group and whether you are working or retired. None of your answers will identify you.

            Anything else I will have to do?


            What are the possible advantages or benefits of taking part?

            You will not receive any direct personal benefits from participating. However, you will be helping with the development of methods for “citizen science”, especially in local history. We also hope you will be contributing to there being more useful and usable online projects for you to work on, but we have to emphasise that first we must obtain new funding for quite new systems.

            Will my taking part in the study be kept confidential?

            Your answers will be recorded, and they will be linked to the information we already hold about your contribution to the project: as explained above, you are identified within the system not by your email address but by a long and meaningless identifier, which is included as part of each transcription record you created.

            Access to the database other than through the web site is controlled by passwords and limited to the project team. There is just one place in the system where that identifier is linked to your email address, and the names you gave when you registered. This information will not be passed to anyone outside the study team without your express written permission. It will be retained for up to 30 years. When it is no longer required, the data will be disposed of securely. The exception to this will be any regulatory authority which may have the legal right to access the data including user identities for the purposes of conducting an audit or enquiry, in exceptional cases. These agencies treat your personal data in confidence.

            Published results and public presentations based on this questionnaire survey will never discuss individual responses, only statistical summaries. The individual responses, including the identifiers described above but not including email addresses or people’s names, may be used in future research studies approved by an appropriate research ethics committee, and it may be passed to an appropriate data archive.

            What if there is a problem?

            If you have a query, concern or complaint about any aspect of this study, in the first instance you should contact the researcher(s) if appropriate. The contact details for the researcher are listed above.

            If your concern or complaint is not resolved by the researcher, you should contact the Head of Department:

            The Head of Department,
            Department of Geography,
            University of Portsmouth,
            Buckingham Building,
            Lion Terrace,
            PORTSMOUTH PO1 3HE
            Professor Donald Houston
            023 9284 2501

            If the complaint remains unresolved, please contact:

            The University Complaints Officer
            023 9284 3642

            Who is funding the research?

            This research is unfunded. None of the researchers or study staff will receive any financial reward by conducting this study, other than their normal salary as an employee of the University.

            Who has reviewed the study?

            Research involving human participants is reviewed by an ethics committee to ensure that the dignity and well-being of participants is respected.  This study has been reviewed by the Science Faculty Ethics Committee and been given favourable ethical opinion.

            Thank you

            Thank you for taking time to read this information sheet and for considering volunteering for this research.
            Updated: 05 Feb 2018 10:26 PM
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