Volunteers needed for two research projects

Discussion in 'Brixton Noticeboard' started by Maddy&Guy, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. Maddy&Guy

    Maddy&Guy New Member

    Are you a long-term resident of the Brixton area?
    I am writing my dissertation for my undergraduate degree in Human Geography.
    Would you be interested in discussing how you feel gentrification has impacted the local area and the lives of long term residents?

    Please contact:

    Are you a single mother or a child of a single parent family?
    I am conducting research for a play I will be directing with Fourth Monkey Theatre Co.
    Would you be interesting in talking to me about your experiences and outlook on life as a single mother to help me accurately portray it in theatre?

    Please contact:

    More information is available upon enquiry, including how the information collected will be used and any other questions you may have. At any point during the interviews or after you can opt out of the research and your information will not be used. At all times personal information will be kept anonymous
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  2. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Please read our rules before posting again. Terms of Service and Rules | urban75 forums

    You are only allowed to advertise this in this single forum so I've moved your post here. Please stop trying to post in the Brixton forum.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  3. DietCokeGirl

    DietCokeGirl All lost in the supermarket

    Cash or voucher incentive?
  4. DaveCinzano


    Well done on the whole bobsleigh Olympic gold thing, but did you have to do a Roman?
    maomao likes this.
  5. Maddy&Guy

    Maddy&Guy New Member

    Sorry, unfortunately not. Just the chance for you to express your opinions and feelings in a positive direction
  6. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen Sparkly cat whisperer

    Not even a free theatre ticket? :hmm:
    Miss-Shelf and Pickman's model like this.
  7. Maddy&Guy

    Maddy&Guy New Member

    Oh yeah! Definitely a free ticket! That goes without saying
    Miss-Shelf and Thimble Queen like this.
  8. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    What, exactly, does "in a positive direction" mean?

    I'd also say that you're pushing some ethical boundaries in using a personal (rather than academic) email address, and - tbf - I feel pretty uncomfortable about the lack of any mention of your uni / supervisor in your op. Which removes the actual line of academic accountability. Given that a UG won't ultimately be accountable for much, if it's been fully approved, and if sth goes wrong.

    Conducting real world interviews with real people is pretty bold for a UG dissertation and, it being before the start of term, you're doing pretty bloody well if you've been through ethics already.
  9. Maddy&Guy

    Maddy&Guy New Member

    Sorry if we've caused you any offence by posting this.

    'Positive direction', for me, is giving the opportunity for us to use the voice of the volunteer's to raise awareness in area's we both care about. We hope it will be an empowering experience and we will not move forwards with any material the volunteer is not comfortable with sharing.

    All interviews can be anonymous, and will take place in a mutually agreed safe space, with the volunteer free to end the interview as they wish.

    We are happy to provide as much information about the university/theatre companies we are working with, but would prefer not to share too much on a public online platform. The aim is for the process to be completely transparent to the people who are directly involved.

    We are simply interested in hearing what people have to say about our chosen subject area's.

    Sorry if this doesn't answer your concerns, I can assure you our procedure is above board and carefully considered, with two credible institutions behind us, who are ethically validating our work.

    I hope this reassures people who are thinking of volunteering, we would love to hear from you! Please do get in contact.
  10. The Boy

    The Boy danny la rouge is probably wrong.

    <ed: no, this is too much - content removed>
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2017
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  11. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    I'm an academic who supervises undergraduates.

    To clarify, I'm not offended, but I find your approach to recruitment surprising. It's... quite rare... for undergraduates to be allowed to interview members of the public, and to recruit through your personal email address, and alongside an entirely separate advertisement for something entirely different, is hedging towards the odd / unprofessional, and would certainly be seen as bad / unethical practice by a fair proportion of academics.

    It's also before the start of most academic years - which means that anyone starting an undergraduate thesis this year will have done bloody well to get through an ethics committee already (unless you started last year, and this is a two year project?) I have yet to meet some of my final year undergrads. And if it hasn't been through ethics, you absolutely should not be recruiting.

    Again, I'm not offended - but this seems like a particularly odd (and purposefully obfuscated) approach to recruitment. There have been many adverts on here for research participants in the past. You are, I think, the first I can recall who purposefully obscured their academic institution whilst working towards a degree, and asked people to email a personal email account (alongside an advertisement for an unrelated project - which, again, is bad practice at the very least).
    Pickman's model likes this.
  12. Maddy&Guy

    Maddy&Guy New Member

    Thank you for your reply. I have read it carefully and it is noted.
  13. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    That's extremely kind of you.

    TBH, I'm becoming quite sceptical that you are an undergraduate. Working through a hotmail address alone would be enough to panic most institutions - universities absolutely need oversight of what their students do, and if something went wrong, they need to have an audit trail. Which they can check. And which they won't have, if emails have gone through hotmail's servers rather than their own. And undergraduates interviewing members of the public would be at the big and hairy end of university risk assessments, in proper need of tight supervision for the sake of all involved.

    I would be amazed if that had been passed by an institutional ethics committee (along with posting a mobile number).

    Your post doesn't sit right with me, Guy. If you are an undergraduate, then I'm struggling to believe that you're working with appropriate supervision.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
    Casaubon and Pickman's model like this.
  14. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen Sparkly cat whisperer

    Sorry but it sounds like you a profiting from vulnerable people for a commercial venture. I appreciate that small theatre productions don't make a great deal of money but this will benefit your CV and future employment prospects. Happy to be proved wrong though.
  15. bimble

    bimble noisy but small

    I'm happy to discover that Human Geography is a degree. Like the sound of that a lot didn't know it was a thing.
  16. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    This has continued to trouble me, and the more I've thought about it, the less I believe the OP is carrying out an appropriately supervised UG project. Sources of unease:

    • The timing is wrong. This is week 0 / week 1 of most unis. There has not been time to seek supervision, develop a supervised proposal, and run said proposal through an institutional ethics panel, unless the OP is following a highly unusual (part time?!) course. No project should recruit without full, cleared, ethical approval.
    • The project is wrong. It's too ambitious for UG. Interviews with strangers? That means interviewing, coding (with software?) and application of an analytical framework / methodological theory. For a - presumably - 8,000 word thesis. Just one of the Masters theses I've marked / supervised in my current uni (admittedly, of <10) has used empirical research. Only a handful of the 35 people on my Masters conducted empirical research. It's ambitious for a postgrad, let alone week 0 of year 3 for a UG.
    • The ethics are hazardous. I can't see any rationale for a university approving this project for an UG. The risks are huge, hairy, and seemingly unmanaged. There's no justification - or need - for this at UG level.
    • Institutions "who are ethically validating our work" means nothing - has this passed an ethics committee? If so, which one? There is literally no reason to obfuscate this.
    • The OP (pt1). The more I think about the personal email address, the more wrong it feels. What justification could there be for not using an institutional email? Anonymity? That... stinks of wonky ethics. I can't see any rationale for approving researcher (and institutional) anonymity during recruitment. Explicitly avoiding openness "on a public open platform" runs against core academic principles of openness and accountability. I can't see why this would be passed by an ethics committee - it's not ok.
    • The OP (pt2). The OP clearly wasn't pre-approved by a supervisor; it has been edited to remove mobile numbers. Which were either approved, and fine; or weren't approved, in which case this should not have been posted. The conflation with a theatre project is frankly bizarre, unexplained, and would compromise most research projects. The subsequent references to "we," and seeming possibility that some UG data might inform theatre projects, is also massively not ok.
    If there are answers to these concerns, Maddy&Guy, I'm sure you can provide them - they are questions that any student researcher should have ready answers to.

    Otherwise, IMO this just doesn't look right for an UG project.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  17. DaveCinzano


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    Rushy, Casaubon, Maggot and 13 others like this.
  18. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    My uni seemed quote chuffed that I found some real people. I don't remember having to do anything like what your mentioning mrs quoad.
    Miss-Shelf and Pickman's model like this.
  19. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    No ethical approval? Interviewing real strangers for a 3rd year undergrad project? Personal email address?

    I'm surprised! And if this is fully above board, the op shouldn't have many difficulties answering the Qs above.
  20. DaveCinzano


  21. emanymton

    emanymton A cat politely sat on the flaming gardener.

    When I was a school we had to go and interview people in the street for a geography project. We actually went to my mates house and 'interviewed' his family. Including the ones that weren't there.
    Maggot, maomao and clicker like this.
  22. BlueSquareThing

    BlueSquareThing With chips

    It was a thing in 1987 as well when I started my degree in it :cool:
  23. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    Have revisited our UG dissertation guidance in full. Anything involving more than "minimal risk" has to undergo full institutional ethical approval. UGs can interview irl people, but only after submitting a full ethics application detailing how all areas of risk will be mitigated / addressed.

    Edit: it's also clear that UGs should, on no account, give out personal phone numbers or email addresses.
  24. BlueSquareThing

    BlueSquareThing With chips

    I'm not sure how things work nowadays, but it's possible that this might be less of an issue. It was a long time ago, but my uni started its third year in May of Year 2 - straight after second year exams which happened immediately after the Easter break. That gave us a start on our dissertation straight away and meant that work could be done and fieldwork sorted over the long vac.

    That was a long, long time ago though and iirc they no longer operate like that. It is just possible, however, that there are places that do.

    Actually it looks OK from a geographical perspective. It's not that far removed from the sort of thing I'd have had A level students working on and, depending on the detail, isn't an unreasonable way to gather some evidence. Human geo is tricky unless you can get some opinions. Not sure if face to face interviews is necessarily the best way to go about getting them, but there absolutely needs to be primary fieldwork done for this sort of course.

    Not that I don't have some reservations about the request...
    mrs quoad likes this.
  25. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    Both universities I've worked in would allow interviews for a third year undergraduate dissertation.
    One uni required only the supervisor to give the ethical go ahead
    Present uni required agreement by an ethics committee

    The first project mentioned could be managable and ethical if the student and supervisor design it carefully

    The second project doesn't sound like a study so much. It sounds like background research about a subject. As such, I wonder what protocols are in place for students?
    I did a theatre degree( now many years ago ) and people would have gone out and found out about things that went into final shows. I don't recall anyone supervising that in formal ways.

    Maddy&Guy posting separately about these two very different projects might have prompted more tailored responses ?
    Thimble Queen and mrs quoad like this.
  26. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad Well-Known Member

    I have no concerns about the second, which doesn't appear to lay any claims to being an academic project. It only concerns me insofar as its conflated with the first.
  27. Maddy&Guy

    Maddy&Guy New Member

    In response to your sources of unease:

    1. The timing may seem odd but our dissertations started mid way through our second year and finish mid way through our third year so all the planning and ethical approval from supervisors happened at the end of last May.

    2. The length of the paper is 14,000 words and its suggested that you try and collect data which will best suit your thesis and in this case interviews seemed to best fit, as it has with the many other academic papers on this subject. Many current and past students have taken on much more ambitious methodologies than this.

    3. With the personal email it seemed best to try and keep some level of anonymity on a public forum, but as the edited edition of our post says we will become transparent with all information upon enquiry of a volunteer (I can appreciate that this should have been in the original advert and this was a mistake)

    4. Putting our mobile numbers up was a mistake. I think we were just conscious of making it accessible for anyone to contact us. In hindsight I see this was a mistake, but mistakes can happen and we have edited the advert to remove them.

    5. I can ensure you that the two projects do no overlap. We posted the call out together simply as we have been researching interview techniques together and thought it was more compact if we used the same post. All interviews will be conducted separately, and no collected information will be shared between the two. We are both looking at very different subject area’s and therefore have no interest or benefit in sharing our work.

    We are sorry for an feelings of unease this post has created and have tried to edit it around the concerns you have raised.

    I hope these answers have also helped.
    Miss-Shelf and mrs quoad like this.
  28. DaveCinzano


    “Oh, sure, I'm so sorry, everything seems completely in order now, my mistake! Ah, but I just have...”

    <Turns round with a start to face his quarry>

    “...ONE MORE THING...”

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  29. Maddy&Guy

    Maddy&Guy New Member

    I am actually quite hurt by this.
    Firstly, I am not sure I would refer to single mothers as "vulnerable people". But regardless, I am not asking people for anything but taking the time to talk to me, I am not asking for anything more than what they wish to offer.
    Secondly, this is a project close to my heart, I sought out the opportunity with a reputable theatre company to make this piece as I feel it is important to hear women's voices.
    Not that it really matters, but at this stage I am not being paid, nor are the actors. I am currently in conversation with multiple charities discussing how we can use this play to help raise funds and use it as an empowering insight into the strong women that single mother's are, and the stigma I feel there is in our society towards them.
    If this does help me develop my career within theatre then that would be amazing, I am basing my career on community theatre and am interesting in developing projects that work with real people on real issues. With the aim of each play to benefit the chosen group of people who's story I will be helping to tell.

    It been quite enlightening to see how sceptical and cyncial people have been in response to our call out. We both have no malicious intent behind our projects.
    Maggot likes this.
  30. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    It could be a useful part of the learning and research process? To know how different audiences respond to requests?
    I inadvertently caused upset recently to someone during some research related request. It made me think again about how I asked. When I'm on the inside of a project I see it from my pov ...it's impossible for me to know how others receive that.

    Look at this another way, some knowledgeable people have posted on this thread asking for clarification - that's quite useful isn't it, in the learning process?

    Others have posted their reaction. Again, that's a response you might get if you post to strangers on a community forum. Again, engaging with it, asking how you can make your requests more reassuring , could be useful for your project (s)

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