Other-than-Human Identities – Information for Participants

What is the research about?

The proposed research is about the experience of those who identify as Otherkin, Therian, Vampire, or other other-than-human and those who identify as Furry or Brony. In exploring the area of identity among these very different communities, we are interested in how people come to identify as such, what it means to them to do so, and how this affects their lives.  The project seeks to generate understanding of diverse experiences and identities.

The project has been approved by the Research Ethics Board of St Thomas University.  The approval letter can be found here: OtH REB approval

Who is conducting the research?

Dr. Clive Baldwin is leading the research.  He is Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies at St Thomas University (STU). The research has been approved by the Research Ethics Board of STU.  Lauren Ripley is Dr Baldwin’s Research Assistant on the project.

Why have I been invited to participate?

You have been invited to participate because you are a member of one of the above groups, and are over the age of 18.

If I am interested in participating, what should I do?

If you are interested in participating, please contact us, indicating your interest and asking any questions you might have.  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:  (506) 452 9596
Email: baldwin@stu.ca

What does participating in the research involve?

You will be asked to give consent to being interviewed, and the use of your interview for research purposes.  The consent forms can be found here:

OtH identities Consent form; 

OtH identities transcript consent form 

Sometimes people find it difficult or inconvenient to print off, scan, sign and return the forms so we always ask for consent at the beginning of the interview.

In agreeing to participate in the research you are agreeing to take part in two interviews, each of approximately 1 ½ – 2 hours in length.  The first interview will focus on how you came to identify as Otherkin, Therian, Vampire, or other Other-than-Human, or Furry or Brony, and what it means to you.  You will be able to tell your story in as much detail as you want.  The second interview will focus on clarifying and expanding on things from the first interview and exploring particular aspects of your experience, the group of which you are a part, and how others see you and that group.

Ideally, we would like to interview you in person and interviews would be arranged at a time and place convenient to you and are quite informal.  Any out of pocket expenses (e.g. travel costs) will be reimbursed.

If a face-to-face interview is not possible due to geographical location and/or costs we may ask to interview you by Skype, telephone, or Discord.  You will be asked for your permission for the interviews to be recorded.

We will also ask you for a small amount of personal information (for example, age, gender, education) 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 information that could identify you (e.g. names, places, dates etc.) will be removed.  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 ensure that you cannot be identified (with the exception of audio and/or video recordings – see below).  You will be able to see the transcript prior to giving permission for it to be included in the research and separate consent for this will be sought.

All information will be stored in locked filing cabinets and/or password protected computer files.  All material will be destroyed after five years following 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 and research assistants 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.

All identifying information will be removed from the information you give us.  If you so wish we can send you a copy of the transcript for correction and approval before it is included in the research.

In addition to being asked to agree to being interviewed you will be asked also whether you agree to any audio and/or video recordings being used in conference presentations, for educational purposes, in academic publications or in interim and final reports on the website.  This consent is entirely separate from agreeing to participate in the research and you can still participate in the research even if you do not want the audio/video recordings to be used in this way.  If you agree to these uses of the audio/video recordings we cannot guarantee that you will not be identified from the recording so please think very carefully about this.  Once again, you do not have to agree to this– we can work with the typed transcripts alone.

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.  The purpose of the research is to help understand how people form their spiritual identities.

What are the risks of participating in the research?

The risks of participating in the research are minimal.  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 help you access 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.  However, once reporting of the research is submitted for publication, it will not be possible to remove any information.

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 feel free to contact us by letter, phone or email.

Dr. Clive Baldwin
Rm 313, Brian Mulroney Hall
St Thomas University, Fredericton, NB
Canada E3B 5G3

Phone:  506.452.9596
Email: baldwin@stu.ca
Website: https://wp.stu.ca/narrativestudies/

If you have questions regarding your rights as a participant in this study, you may contact the Vice-Chair of the St. Thomas University Research Ethics Board, reb@stu.ca

If during your participation you have any concerns about the conduct of the research or want to make a complaint, please address these, in the first instance, with myself.  If you are not satisfied with the response, you may contact:

Research Ethics Board