Title of Project: GB1900 volunteer study
Contact Details of Researcher(s):
Ethics Committee Reference Number: 547559
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
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
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,
PORTSMOUTH PO1 3HE
Professor Donald Houston
023 9284 2501
If the complaint remains unresolved, please contact:
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 for taking time to read this information sheet and for
considering volunteering for this research.