Who is conducting the research?
Dr. Clive Baldwin is leading the research. He is Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies and Professor of Social Work at St Thomas University (STU). The research has been approved by the Research Ethics Board of STU.
If I am interested in participating, what should I do?
Please contact Dr Baldwin. You can do this by phone, e-mail, or regular mail:
Dr. Clive Baldwin, Rm 313, Brian Mulroney Hall
St Thomas University, Fredericton, NB Canada E3B 5G3
Phone: +1 506.452.9596
What does participating in the research involve?
We are asking you to take part in two interviews of about 1 ½ – 2 hours and to supply copies of as many documents relevant to your case as you are willing to share (for example, medical and social work records, personal diaries, court documents and so on). The first interview will focus on your experience, starting at whatever point you choose. You can tell your story in whatever way and in as much detail as you wish. A second interview will be arranged once we have reviewed your first interview and any documents, and will focus on issues arising from the first interview and the documents.
Ideally we would like to interview you in person though this would depend on being able to arrange interviews with a number of people for the same trip so as to make best use of time and resources. Alternatively, we may ask to interview you by Skype or telephone. You will be asked for your permission for the interviews to be recorded.
Any out of pocket expenses (e.g. travel costs, copying and postage and so on) will be reimbursed. We cannot, however, pay any legal costs you might have as a result of deciding to join in this research.
We will also ask you for a small amount of personal information (for example, age, gender, ethnicity) that will help in the research – all of which will be kept completely separate from the interview material.
What will happen to the information I provide?
Interviews will be typed word for word (transcribed) and all identifying personal information removed. You will be sent the transcripts of your interviews prior to allowing us to use them. The information will then be analysed and used in reports, journal articles, conference presentations and educational materials. All information will be edited so as to minimize the possibility you could be identified. All information will be stored in locked filing cabinets and/or password protected computer files and will be destroyed seven years after completion of the research.
Will the information I give be confidential?
Yes. Only those directly involved in the research will have access to the information you give us. Transcribers will be required to sign confidentiality agreements. All information will be treated in confidence, unless you told us about another person being harmed or at risk of being harmed or about an unresolved or future crime in which case we are required to report this to the relevant authorities.
All identifying information will be removed from the information you give us (interviews and documents). You will be sent a copy of the transcript and you can remove any information that you would prefer not to be used in the research.
If asked by any third party (e.g. child protective services) to hand over information you have given us, we will not do so voluntarily and will destroy as much of your information as we legally can. We will inform you immediately of any such request.
If there is a search warrant or a court order requiring us to disclose information we will appeal it, and will destroy as much of your information as we legally can. We cannot, however, guarantee that we will be able to do this completely before being required to disclose information.
What are the benefits of participating in the research?
While some people find it helpful to talk about their experiences, there will not necessarily be any direct benefits to you individually as a result of participating in the research. If you are still involved in legal proceedings, it is not expected that participation in the research will help with these, and the researcher cannot appear as an expert or character witness for you.
The purpose of the research is to help promote awareness and understanding of the issues involved.
What are the risks of participating in the research?
If you were identified this could impact upon any current legal proceedings. If you are concerned about this you should consult your attorney or a trusted advisor before making your decision. We cannot, however, reimburse any legal costs you might incur. It is important that you know the potential risks of participating in the research prior to being interviewed and/or sharing any documentation. You will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand the potential risks.
On our part, we will do everything we can to prevent you being identified (changing names, places, dates, family structures, ages, gender and so on or mixing up cases so that no individual family may be identified) but there is always a chance that someone already familiar with your case will recognise the details of your case and thus be able to identify you. If you do participate and later change your mind because of the possible consequences, you are free to withdraw from the research prior to its completion and all materials you have supplied will be destroyed.
In the unlikely event of you being identified as participating in this research there may be a possibility of legal action against you if you have disclosed anything that you should not. If you are worried about this you should take advice from a trusted advisor or attorney prior to making the decision as to whether or not to disclose any documentation. Again, we cannot, however, pay for any legal costs. Alternatively, you can participate in the interviews without disclosing any documents.
Also, if you were identified, there is a possibility that the researcher could be approached to disclose information (e.g. interview transcripts and documents). We will never disclose information voluntarily. We will also oppose any search warrant or court order, as we view research data as privileged information. We may, however, lose such a challenge and be forced to disclose information. If we are faced with that possibility we will destroy all the information we legally can and withdraw you from the study in an attempt to minimize any disclosure. We cannot guarantee, however, that we shall be able to remove all your information. If you are concerned about this, you should take advice from an attorney or a trusted friend before agreeing to participate in the research or disclose any documentation. We cannot, however, pay any legal costs involved in this. You will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand the risks and are willing to be responsible for your decision to participate in the research and to disclose documents.
It is possible that some people might become upset when recounting particularly difficult experiences. If this happens the interviewer will stop the interview until you are ready to continue or decide not to continue. You will be offered the opportunity to discuss this with the interviewer and the interviewer will point you to other resources if you would like.
Can I change my mind? And what will happen if I do?
You are free to withdraw at any stage without having to give a reason. If you decide to withdraw then all information you have supplied and can be attributed to you will be destroyed.
Will I be able to see the outcomes of the research?
Yes, you can ask to be put on the list to be sent a summary when it is available. When the research is completed a report will be available on the website. As the project is quite a lengthy one, annual updates will appear on the website. If you do not have access to the Internet and want to receive these updates, please let us know.
Who do I contact if I have a question or want further information?
Please contact Dr Clive Baldwin (above).
If you have questions regarding your rights as a participant in this study, you may contact the Chair of the St. Thomas University Research Ethics Board, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any concerns about the conduct of the research or want to make a complaint, please address these, in the first instance, with Dr Baldwin. If you are not satisfied with the response, you may contact:
Chair, Research Ethics Board, email@example.com
If you wish to participate in this research you will need to complete a consent form indicating that you understand what is involved and giving us permission to interview you, and use the information you provide. The consent form can be found here: AS MSbP EDS consent form