Breadcrumbs

Information for Participants

GUIDELINES FOR CONTENT AND FORMAT

University of Waikato letterhead should be used for project documentation intended for participants, including for student projects.


Recruitment Flyer/Poster/Email/Online Post

Initial recruitment information can take the form of a paper flyer, wall poster or digital poster, email, or online post. The following information needs to be provided on your Recruitment Flyer/Poster/Email/Online Post:

  • Project Title
  • Name of Researcher, contact details, institutional affiliation
  • Level of Study (if student project)
  • Supervisors, contact details (if student project)
  • Summary of area of research
  • An invitation to participants that indicates the nature of research activities
  • Statement of any risks or exclusions that apply (as relevant)
  • Name of approving committee + contact email

Project Links: It is generally safe to provide links to project pages through email; however, to protect the privacy of your potential participants, please do not embed a link to your project in an online social media post. Instead, provide instructions for your potential participants to navigate to your project e.g. ask them to copy and paste a URL or project name into a new window (if an anonymous eSurvey), or to contact you directly (if a face-to-face activity).

Images: if you include images on your recruitment flyer/poster, please investigate copyright and acknowledge ownership of the images used as needed.



Participant Information Sheet - Extended Version

For research activities where Participant Identities are known to the Researcher

Where researchers will know who their participants are, information sheets should be provided in advance of planned research activities, to give potential participants time to consider their involvement and to reflect on any risks associated with the project. The details listed below must be provided in order to meet University of Waikato Ethical Conduct in Human Ethics and Related Activities Regulations.

Information Sheets must be written clearly for participants [Reg.9.4.h]

  • Use clear and simple language.
  • Technical terms should be avoided wherever possible.
  • Images of equipment in use can help to convey information clearly.
  • A copy of the information sheet should be retained by each participant.

As relevant to your project, fully inform your participants of the details of the project [Reg.9 inclusive]:

  • Who the researchers are, including supervisors, the level of study (Masters, Doctorate etc.); and the affiliation with the University of Waikato [Reg.9.1];
  • Who is paying for it or sponsoring it [Reg.21.3.a];
  • The topic of the research and the question that the researcher is trying to address [Reg.9.1];
  • What the participant/s have to do and how long it will take [Reg.9.1];
  • Participation is voluntary [Reg.9.1] and a statement that there are no consequences for declining to participate [Reg.16.4];
  • Possible harms that may be an outcome of participation, and steps the researcher will take to reduce potential harms and to support participants should such harms arise [Reg.13.1-4];
  • What the researcher expects the major outcomes of the research will be, including where findings will be published/disseminated [Reg.9.4.a.ii];
  • The representation of participant identities in the research (anonymised identities, use of pseudonyms or codes, naming of participants) [Reg.12.2.a];
  • How participants will be provided with access to findings (and publications if appropriate for the readership);
  • How the collected information will be stored, for how long, and who (if anyone) will; have access to it under what conditions [Reg.9.4.a.iii], [Reg.12.5], [Reg.12.6].

Note that identifying data should be disposed of as soon as practical for a given project, but that non-identifying data upon which the results of a study depend must be stored for at least 5 years after the findings of the study have been released [Reg.12.1] .

Note that supervisors (and associated programmes) are responsible for the secure storage of student data for the nominated time period [Reg.12.1]

Ensure that participants understand that:

  • They may ask any further questions about the research that occur to them at any time;
  • They can correct any personal information that they have given to the researcher;
  • They do not need to answer any particular question(s) that they do not wish to;
  • They do not need to engage in any particular activity that they do not wish to;
  • They may withdraw from the project up until [a suitable time following the research activity
    e.g. “two or three weeks after the interview”] by [a convenient method from the perspective the of the participant e.g. “contacting the researcher by email or text message”].

Note that Reg.9.4.a.iv specifies that participants can withdraw until analysis has begun, but this is not a useful timeframe for participants, so withdrawal should be specified in relation to the research activity itself.

Note also that it is difficult to promise withdrawal of data for Focus Group/Group Research Conversation participants, due to the multiple overlapping voices that can be involved. Researchers should inform such participants of their right to leave the Focus Group/Group Research Conversation at any time, and undertake to attempt to remove comments from the focus group record if possible, if that is the participant’s wish. Participants should also be told that it might not be possible to remove all of their data, due to the nature of group conversations.

  • They can contact researchers (and supervisors of student projects) at any time. Contact details must be provided.

Copy and paste this ‘Approval Statement’ on to your Information Sheet. Ensure that the correct Divisional name and contact details are included, or that the HREC(Health) approval statement is used [Reg.9.4.j]:

For projects approved by Divisional Human Research Ethics Committees

This research project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Division of XXX at the University of Waikato as [Approval Code]. Any questions or concerns about the ethical conduct of this research may be sent to the Secretary of the Committee, email XXX@waikato.ac.nz, postal address, The Ethics Committee, Division of XXX, University of Waikato, Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240.

For projects approved by the University's Human Research Ethics Committee

This research project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Waikato as HREC20XX#XX. Any questions or concerns about the ethical conduct of this research may be sent to the Secretary of the Committee, email humanethics@waikato.ac.nz, postal address, Human Research Ethics Committee, University of Waikato, Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240.

For projects approved by the University's Human Research Ethics Committee (Health)

This research project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (Health) at the University of Waikato as HREC(Health)20XX#XX. Any questions or concerns about the ethical conduct of this research may be sent to the Secretary of the Committee, email humanethics@waikato.ac.nz, postal address, Human Research Ethics Committee (Health), University of Waikato, Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240."

Please do not provide names or phone numbers of Committee Chairs, as these roles are likely to change during the life of a project.



Participant Information Sheet - Abbreviated Version

For research activities where Participant Identities are fully anonymous

Where participant identities remain fully anonymous to the researcher, for example where an anonymous online survey is used, participants should be provided with project information on the first page or screen of the survey instrument. The details listed below must be provided in order to meet University of Waikato Ethical Conduct in Human Ethics and Related Activities Regulations, particularly Reg.10.3.a-d.

As a minimum, researchers must inform the applicant of the following details:

  • Basic information about the project including names of the research team and contact details, University affiliation and Sponsor details, Name of approving committee and contact details;
  • The purpose of the research;
  • The research activity and an estimation of how long it will take;
  • The voluntary nature of participation;
  • The forms of publication that are planned;
  • An assurance that participants will remain anonymous throughout the project and in its reporting;
  • A statement that participants can withdraw from the project before completion, by exiting the survey or not submitting their responses at the end of the survey.
  • An indication that it is not possible to withdraw participant data from the project after it has been submitted, due to the anonymity of the data.

Depending on the nature of the research project, researchers may also be asked to provide the following details:

  • A statement of participant exclusions;
  • Links to organisations and/or individuals who are available to provide support to participants.

Large anonymous surveys typically obtain preliminary assent at the beginning of the survey, where potential participants opt in to the research activity. Consent is formalised at the conclusion of the research activity, where participants submit their responses to the research project. Participants should be able to withdraw at any time up to submitting their responses, simply by exiting the survey window or by not returning their paper-based survey.



Project Information for the General Public

For observational research taking place in the public domain

As noted in Reg.11, when a researcher is conducting observational research in the public domain, it can be intrusive and/or impractical to seek the consent of all individuals present. In such cases, a researcher may be asked to prepare an Information flyer that can be handed out to members of the public who approach the researcher and ask what is happening. The information flyer should include the following information:

  • Project Title
  • Name of Researcher, contact details, institutional affiliation
  • Level of Study (if student project)
  • Supervisors, contact details (if student project)
  • Summary of area of research
  • Description of observational research activities
  • Name of approving committee + contact email

Where appropriate, researchers conducting observations in the public domain are encouraged to wear identifying University of Waikato apparel, or a name badge, so that their status as “researcher” and affiliation with the University of Waikato is made known to the general public, and individuals can avoid the research space if they so choose.