Invitation to Participate in a Research Study

As I just received ethical approval for my research study (for one of the modules in my doctoral program at Lancaster University), I want to list the specifics here and begin to look for potential participants. Please let me know if you are wish to volunteer to be a potential interviewee or want to speak about this / get more information. I have a formal research consent form with some additional information. 

I hope to have 3 participants, and will hope to have the interview by the second week of January.

Name of Project:

Public Transformations: Adult Learners Who Use Social Media to Express and Understand Their Identities as Developing Researchers

Dear Potential Participant:

I want to invite you to take part in a research study which is part of my doctoral studies in the Centre for Studies in Advanced Learning Technology (CSALT), Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University. You should understand why the research is being done, and what it will involve for you. Please read the following carefully and decide if you wish to take part. Ask me if there is anything that is not clear or if you want more information.

What is the Purpose of the Study?

The purpose of this study is to explore how people develop as researchers while using social media tools to engage in reflexivity, self-expression, feedback, and collaboration. I am especially interested in knowing how learners make sense of their experiences when they believe they learn something significant that helps them see things in a different way.

Why have I been Invited?

You are invited to participate in this research because you are (or were) an adult learner who communicated with others about your graduate or doctoral research experiences via social media (e.g., via a blog, microblog such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.).

What will Taking Part Involve for Me?

I will conduct one interview, on the phone or via an online conference service, for approximately 60 minutes. The interview will be recorded and the transcript sent to you for your review and edits. The audio recording and transcript of our discussion will be safely stored on my password-protected computer, as will your contact information. The data from this study will be used in the completion of course work in my doctoral programme, and it may also be included in my doctoral thesis, published, or presented at conferences. To safeguard your confidentiality and anonymity, you will be given a pseudonym, and all identifying information, such as the institution or department to which you belong, will be removed. You may withdraw from the study for any reason and at any time. If you withdraw from the study, any data that you have contributed will be destroyed.

41 thoughts on “Invitation to Participate in a Research Study

  1. Dear Jeffrey,
    this sounds superb. I would like to volunteer if you think I would be a good research participant for your study!
    Well done. Keep up the good and inspiring work!
    Best of Luck!

    1. Cristina, your encouragement and confidence mean a lot, and I appreciate your offer. I will begin processing all this tomorrow, as I just sent the final request for potential participants earlier today . . .

  2. Jeffrey, if you think I can be of use for your study as an informant, I will surely help out. Your study is so important for helping us understand what social media can do, not just as a medium for expression, but also as a transformative process. Thank you for asking!

    1. Vigdis, thank you for your confidence in (the potential for!) my research. I definately see this as linking the previous work I have been doing in autoethnography and moving toward my dissertation (thesis) proposal next year.

      I have not seen much in this area, though perhaps somebody may locate something and share it if it exists — always good to build on the work of others.

  3. Sounds great, Jeffrey – and glad to see there is already offers by interested volunteers. One thing I was wondering about is whether confidentiality and provision of a pseudonym are obligatory – personally, I prefer not disappearing in anonymity, even though this is still being taught as ‘the default option’.

    1. Britta, you raise a fascinating issue, namely about how to handle this with people who are already public. Ethically, I have to list this, especially as some of the learning may or may not be personal. However, I am happy to accomodate anything that generous participants want.

      I had to navigate this before, when I explored autoethnographers who discussed their work. Let me just leave it that I was surprised how some of the reflective processing and learning through autoethnography never made it into the published research — a wonderful learning experience for me.

    1. Karyn, what interesting work you have done! How was it received, and what do youenvision as your next steps?

      I will read it over a bit more tomorrow, when I process this a little more directly. Kudos to Jane for her suggestion!

      1. Hi Jeffrey, thanks for the compliment. I have yet to hear how it was received. I know I passed, but I haven’t had my actual grade back. I’m not overly optimistic, because the university is something of a late adopter, and most of the faculty were somewhat befuddled by it all.

        Academically speaking, I don’t really have any ‘next steps’. I have one more option to submit towards the Masters’ award. I have no plans for a PhD at this stage.

        Professionally speaking, I will just keep chipping away in my various virtual and physical spaces and hope to further my pet cause of learner empowerment.

        As to your point (to Britta) about the wealth of research material that remains unpublished and therefore unavailable… this is a hot topic for me, too. All that blood sweat and tears locked away in the bowels of some university library whence it can only be retrieved by library staff for use on the premises! Researchers are probably raking over the same patch over and ever, never to know what others have already done. See my rant on the subject. This was one reason I decided to put my project online. I have no delusions of grandeur, but it may save someone else a little trouble. Hey, maybe that someone will turn out to be you! ;o)

    1. Kathleen, thank you for your offer. Can you email me directly so I can reach out to you off-post? I know how to reach out to some of the other respondants, but do not have your contact information.

      Thank you!

      1. Hi Jeffrey – I don’t have your email address. can you send it to me in another note so I can contact you via email as you requested?

    1. Mridula-

      Thank you for your offer; I have not spoken to anybody yet from India; can you email me directly so I can learn a little about your work?

      My email is:
      jeffrey AT silenceandvoice
      DOT com

      Thank you.


    1. Seyed Javad Miri-

      Thank you for your offer of assistance. I looked at your website, and it seems you have already accomplished a lot more research than I have (and even in a quite interesting field). Can you email me directly so I can learn a little about what you have in mind for this project?

      My email is:
      jeffrey AT silenceandvoice
      DOT com

      Thank you.


    1. Massimo-

      Thank you for your posted comment. I looked at your website, though cannot read Italian very well. Can you email me directly so I can learn a little about your work?

      My email is:
      jeffrey AT silenceandvoice
      DOT com

      Thank you.


    1. Shobha-

      Thank you for your kind offer to help. Can you please email me directly so I can learn a little about your work?

      My email is:
      jeffrey AT silenceandvoice
      DOT com

      Thank you very much.


  4. Hello.

    I’ve kept a weblog,, since I began my phd program in Communication in 2002. I used it quite a bit during dissertation fieldwork last year. Lately have not kept it up so much but partly this is because I’m trying to spiff it up for better usability as a long-term record in addition to ongoing immediacy.

    1. Stephanie-

      It looks like you have done a lot of interesting work; I have found that whenever I try to spiff things up, i (personally, of course!) tend to focus on getting things just right, and thus tend not to move forward for some time. I hope the best for you in this process so you do not follow in my footsteps.

      Can you email me directly so I can learn a little more about your work?

      My email is:
      jeffrey AT silenceandvoice
      DOT com

      Thank you.


    1. Mark-

      Thank you for your kind offer to assist and for your New Year’s wishes.

      Can you share a little about your work and studies either here or by emailing me directly –
      My email is:
      jeffrey AT silenceandvoice

      Thank you, and the best for the New Year right back to you.

      DOT com

      1. Hi again!
        I’m writing a dissertation on how a World of Warcraft player group developed joint-task expertise. I’ve been trying to maintain a blog about my experiences as a gamer in academia, which sometimes doesn’t get the attention I mean to give it, but… such is life.


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