Informing Research Participants

Guidelines on informing research participants will be updated in autumn 2017 to reflect the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Informing Research Participants

PART I: Significance of informing participants

Informing research participants is a crucial part of successful life cycle of research data. In addition to participants and the research team, the content of the information supplied is also of significance to the organisation archiving the data, to the scientific community at large and to data reusers.

When personal data are collected or processed for research in Finland, informing research participants is a mandatory requirement set by the Personal Data Act.

» Personal Data Act, Section 24

Potential participants must have sufficient information to be able to make an informed choice on whether to take part in the research or not. Effective and careful information increases the transparency of research as well as the participants' trust in that the data they have supplied will be handled in a responsible manner throughout the data life cycle.

Information given to participants is just as important to researchers themselves. If the informing process has been carried out in an responsible and consistent manner, researchers themselves have a clear idea on how and in what manner the data can be processed and research findings reported in publications.

The content of the information supplied also forms a record of what has been agreed between the researcher(s) and the participants. Even though identifying information will be removed from archived data, from an ethical point of view it is important to inform participants that the data will be archived for further use.

When there are plans to collect data that will contain personal data, researchers must always fill in the Description of the scientific research data file before data collection in Finland. Ethical review boards usually require the description and research participants have the right to see it, should they wish to do so. If the data include personal data drawn from registers and no consent has been asked from the participants, the description of the scientific research data file must also be sent to the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman. The Office can also provide more information on how to apply the Personal Data Act in this case or how to fill in the description of the data file.

» Personal Data Act, Section 10
» Description of the scientific research data file
» Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman

The guidelines provided here refer to the situation in Finland, and may not be applicable in other countries due to differences in legislation.

Definitions of terms

The term personal data refers to "any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person ('data subject'); an identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity; (46/95/EC, Article 2a (Definitions)).

Research data may be sensitive due to the research setting or the nature of information contained in the dataset. In such events, more stringent rules may apply to the informing process both from data protection and ethical viewpoints. For the purpose of this document, data can be considered sensitive if it relates or is intended to relate to, for instance, race or ethnic origin, sexual preferences, religious or political affiliation, the state of health, or social welfare needs. For a comprehensive list, see Personal Data Act, Section 11.

1. Content of the information

Researchers should plan the information process and content carefully before data collection and think through the whole research process and data life cycle. This will enable coherent and consistent information procedures. A data management plan provided for the funding application is a good starting point. If the data contain personal data, the content of the information given to participants must be in line with the information entered in the Description of a scientific research file.

Content of the information varies depending on the nature of the research. Information supplied must fulfil both the ethical and legal requirements. How comprehensive the information should be depends on whether the data contain sensitive information and personal data.

If the study covers health, illness or health care issues, or violates personal integrity, information and consent processes must comply with the regulations of the Medical Research Act and the Medical Research Decree.

»Medical Research Act 488/1999
»Medical Research Degree 986/1999)

2. Form of the information

Potential participants may be informed through written or oral communication. Both constitute an agreement that is binding to the researcher(s). Written information, such as participant information sheets, may be complemented with verbal information. Even though written information is not always required, researchers should always carefully document the content of the verbal information given. This is also a way to ensure that all participants receive the same information. Where the data collected are sensitive, supplying written information is mandatory.

It is important to find a good balance between understandability and comprehensiveness. The main purpose of providing information is to support potential participants' right to self-determination. This requires that participants are able to understand the information given to them. Complex phrases and scientific jargon should be avoided whenever possible. Understandability should be principally considered from the perspective of the participants.

Long information texts do not necessarily serve the interests of the participants best. It is thus better to concentrate on giving essential information. Key content includes information on the parties involved in the study and other information required by the Personal Data Act. This information should preferably be given directly to participants orally or, if in writing, in the participant information sheet or consent form. Clear layout and typographic choices can be used to facilitate ease of reading.

Additional information can be provided by giving a link to a web page introducing the study.

The exact content of the consent participants have given is determined by the information provided for them and their responses to it. There are different ways to obtain consent. Verbal consent is one way. Likewise, if a participant sends the researcher a completed questionnaire, or a written account as a result of seeing a writing request for the study, these actions are taken to constitute consent. In a similar manner, research participants are considered to have given consent to participate if they, after having received information on the study, arrive at the interview location and answer questions posed by the interviewer.

When personal data are collected for the study, consent must comply with the requirements of the personal data processing legislation. In practice, consent must be voluntary, specific and unambiguous. If sensitive register-based information is combined with data obtained from participants, explicit consent is required (see Combining register or official record data with data supplied by subjects.

If any dispute arises regarding what kind of the consent has been given, the burden of proof lies with the researcher. If a research subject has given verbal consent, it is advisable to make a record of the consent. For example, a recorded interview can begin with the interviewer repeating the information given to subjects and asking the interviewee to give his or her consent again.

Written consent is recommended when the data collected are sensitive. Written consent can also be used when research data are linked with official record or register data.

If participants are presented with a written or online consent form that gives them several options regarding data collection and preservation, the content of their consent is formed by the options they choose. If verbal consent is used and participants are presented with several choices, their choices must be appropriately recorded in written notes. In cases where some participants do not consent to archiving and reuse of their data, researchers should document carefully which files are to be stored for reuse and which are to be erased after the research has been completed.

If a participant indicates that he or she does not wish certain part of the information supplied by him or her to be entered into the research data, these parts need to be removed from the data to be archived. In addition, researchers should remove from archived data all reports of discussions with participants taking place after the recording equipment has been turned off. If a participant, for any reason, wishes to discuss his or her personal issues with the researcher immediately after the termination of the data collection event, this discussion shall not be part of the data archived for reuse. It is up to researchers, however, whether they will use these discussions in their own research.

In cases where the data consist of texts written by participants, researchers should check whether the writers have mentioned any restrictions in the texts themselves. Sometimes participants give their consent for archiving and reuse in the beginning of their text but indicate at the end that they do not wish their text to be used for any other than the original research. In this case their text should not be archived. Moreover, the Finnish Social Science Data Archive does not accept for archiving texts where the writer has indicated that a permission must always be obtained from him or her before data reuse.

When processing personal data of research participants, it is good to bear in mind that even with the participant's consent, you can only collect the right amount of information. Collecting and processing excessive personal data that are not necessary for the study is not allowed. The right of individuals to check and rectify information concerning them does not apply to personal data collected for research purposes.

4. Exceptions and observation

If the data to be collected will contain personal data, potential research participants must always be informed of this. If the research design so requires, in some rare cases exceptions can be made. An ethical review must always be carried out before data collection if personal data are to be collected and research participants will not be informed of this on account of the research design, or if they are not given full or correct information. Not informing research participants must be well justified, the research must not cause harm to participants and data protection measures must be rigorous.

» Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK): Information on ethical review in human sciences

There is no legal obligation to obtain consent or inform research subjects when data are collected through observation in public events or spaces and no personal data are collected. When the data consist of observation notes on social interactions or events with changing participants (e.g. school yard), it is recommended that, rather than obtain consent from participants, no personal data are collected and entered into the notes. Asking consent from numerous individuals would be difficult, and the signed consent forms would form an unnecessary personal data file.

It is up to researchers to decide whether they inform participants of their role as a researcher even if they do not record any personal data in their observation notes. What they decide depends on the nature of the research. The decision made should be justifiable in research ethical terms.

Obtaining consent for observational research is mandatory in cases where personal data (e.g. names and other background information) are collected or the events are recorded. Consent can be obtained verbally but it is best to provide general information on the study in writing. If information is given verbally and not in writing, researchers must carefully and in detail document what they tell participants regarding the processing and use of the data created or recorded. It is safest to include the verbally submitted information to the audio or video files.

PART III: Content of information to participants

  1. Contact information
  2. Subject and objectives of the study
  3. Data collection
  4. Voluntary nature of participation
  5. Maintaining confidentiality
  6. Combining register or record data to information supplied by subjects
  7. Maintaining privacy in publications
  8. Informing about archiving and further use of the data

1. Contact information

It is mandatory to provide participants with contact information to the researcher(s). If there are several persons or bodies involved, it is advisable to specify who the person or body responsible for the study is and what the role of each partner is. Participants should also be informed whom to contact for additional information.

It may also be beneficial to provide information on the funders of the study, particularly if there are external funders. Revealing the funders adds to the transparency of research and increases the possibilities of potential participants to make an informed judgement on whether they want to take part or not.

2. Subject and objectives of the study

The purpose and general goals of the study should be presented in comprehensible language, avoiding specialized terminology and technical language. The main purpose for providing information on the subject of the study is to provide background information which will help prospective participants to make an informed decision on whether they want to participate. Researchers should also be prepared to provide additional information, for instance, on the theoretical premises of the study, if requested by a participant.

It is good practice to motivate participants by telling them what kind of new knowledge is sought for and how the results may be utilised in the future. There is no need for detailed information on the research design and hypotheses, but main subjects must be cited in order to allow potential subjects to make an informed participation decision. If it is unclear what the final content of the study will be, information can be based on the plans at that moment.

3. Data collection

Participants must be told how the data are to be collected and what the participation entails in practice. This includes information on the collection method, for instance, whether the study is based on an online survey, interview, focus group discussion, or written accounts sent by participants. It is also good practice to let participants know if they will receive the interview questions beforehand. If participants will be given an opportunity to receive information on the research findings later on, this should be mentioned as well. If the data collected include photographs taken by participants, or other recordings protected by copyright, copyright transfer should be agreed on as part of the informing process.

Other relevant information include whether it is a one-off data collection or a longitudinal study with several collection rounds, the estimated duration of the study, and what exactly taking part would mean in terms of time and effort.

The technique of data collection must also be specified. Participants must be informed beforehand if the data are to be collected by recording audio or video. The source from where their contact information has been obtained should also be revealed.

4. Voluntary nature of participation

Informed consent requires that participation is voluntary. Voluntary nature of participation is an important research ethical and legal requirement. To ensure that consent is given voluntarily, participants must be given sufficient information, not be subjected to any form of pressure, and be made to understand that there will be no negative consequences if they decline. Participants also need to know that they can withdraw from the research at any time.

If participants are recruited from an agency providing services funded by public administration, for instance, if they are the clients of a social services department or an employment office, it should be made clear to them that declining to participate will not affect the decisions regarding them, or the services or benefits they receive. In the same way, it must be made absolutely clear to potential participants living in institutions (hospitals, prisons, reform schools, residential homes for the elderly etc.) that participation is voluntary and declining will have no influence on any decisions affecting them or how they will be treated.

5. Maintaining confidentiality

There are three main aspects involved in maintaining confidentiality of research data: defining the use purposes of the data, defining to what extent the data contain personal information, and the arrangements made to ensure data security.

Participants must be told for what purposes the data related to them will be used. The Finnish Personal Data Act requires that the purpose of processing personal data must be clearly defined before data collection. Research data that contain personal information can only be used for previously specified purposes.

Defining the extent to which the data contain personal data includes determining in which form the collected data will be processed and what information related to participants will be stored in the data. Storing direct identifiers such as person names, addresses, personal identification numbers, or audio and video recordings, for the purposes of analysis and for combining information from different sources is possible only if participants have given explicit consent to this. However, if these personal data are not necessary for the research itself, they should be erased as early as possible and the participants should be informed of this. Whether it is necessary to retain direct identifiers depends on the nature of the research. If the planned anonymisation measures include removing both direct and indirect identifiers, it is good practice to mention this to participants.

Participants can also be informed of other organisational and technical measures taken to ensure confidentiality. If in addition to the researcher collecting the data, other people, for instance, research assistants or other researchers, will be processing it, it is best not to give the impression that data processing would be done by one person only. However, it is not necessary to name these persons. If a signed undertaking of confidentiality is required from the persons processing the data, this can be mentioned as well.

Participants may also be given general-level information on the technical solutions made to ensure data security, including, for example, where the data will be stored and how outsiders will be prevented from accessing it.

6. Combining register or official record data with data supplied by subjects

If data collected from participants will be combined with official record or register data, participants must be informed of this in the manner required by the Personal Data Act. The information must specify what official record and/or register information will be linked to information supplied by research subjects.

If sensitive information is involved in the linking of data from different sources, an explicit consent from participants must be obtained for this, preferably in writing. This can be done by adding a separate section on the data linkage in the consent form. Participants give their consent through the act of filling in the form. Please note that it is not enough to mention the intention to link official record or register data to data collected in the study in the cover letter or participant information sheet, as this does not constitute an explicit consent. Neither is passive consent a valid substitute for explicit consent. Passive consent methods include, for instance, the opt out approach where the participant adds a tick in the form if he or she does NOT allow the combination of data. Explicit consent requires a clear affirmative action by which the participant specifically indicates that he or she consents to data combination. In addition to signing, 'opt-in' methods are acceptable. These include clicking on 'I consent to the combining of data' button or ticking an option in the consent form that indicates giving consent to data combination.

When register data are combined with data from other sources, data security measures should be planned with care. The safest solution is that researchers analyse only the combined data from which personal identification numbers have been removed. More information on using register data is available from the Finnish Information Centre for Register Research.

» Finnish Information Centre for Register Research

7. Maintaining privacy in publications

The requirement for maintaining confidentiality of information supplied by participants applies to research publications as well. It is usually not necessary to reveal the identities of participants in published reports though this depends on the nature of the research. Using person names in publications may be justified, for instance, in connection with expert interviews. If it is considered necessary that the names of the participants appear in published reports, this has to be agreed in advance as part of the informing procedure.

Participants often consent to participate on the condition that they cannot be identified in publications or presentations related to the study. Concealing identities completely may sometimes be difficult to achieve in qualitative research. Therefore it is best not to promise more to participants than that their names will not be mentioned in publications or that direct quotations will be presented in a way that prevents direct identification. If the data contain names of individuals external to the research, participants can be informed that the names of such persons will be replaced with pseudonyms.

In case of research based on written accounts collected through writing requests, it may be necessary to publish extracts from the texts in publications. Written accounts from participants may be protected by copyright. The Copyright Act allows quoting written works made public in accordance with appropriate usage to the extent necessary for the purpose. If long quotations from texts supplied by participants or the whole texts are required in publications, this must be agreed on in advance with participants.

8. Informing about archiving and further use of the data

If the dataset will be archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive, participants can be informed, for example, that:

After the research has been completed, the data created during it will be archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) for further research purposes. The data will be anonymised for archiving.

OR ALTERNATIVELY:

After the research has been completed, the data created during it will be archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) for further research, teaching and study purposes. The data will be anonymised for archiving.

If the dataset contains both sensitive information and personal data, and there is no intention to use it for further research, the following can be said of its disposal:

Once the research has been completed and its results validated, the data will be erased.

If there is intention to preserve the data with personal data included for subsequent use by the researcher or the research team in their home organisation after the original research has been completed, participants need to be informed of this. Information supplied should cover:

  • where the data will be stored and for how long
  • whether the data will be stored with all personal data retained or whether the following, for instance, will be retained in or removed:
    • personal identification numbers, contact details of participants
    • audio and/or video recordings
  • specified use purposes of the data
  • who administers the data (who/which body will give permission to access the data and what kind of terms and conditions will be set for its use)

The FSD can accept for archiving data that contain personal information only in cases where Section 2, Paragraph 5 of the Personal Data Act applies and the data can be interpreted to have been created for artistic or literary purposes. Data consisting of literary works can be archived with author information retained if the authors have given consent for their works to be archived with this information and the literary works have originally been created for publication, for example, as part of a writing competition. The data archive will remove all unnecessary personal data, such as contact information to the authors. Expert interviews may be archived with person names retained if there is written consent from the interviewees for this.

If the intention is to archive the data with personal data for subsequent use of the scientific community at large, explicit consent must be obtained from participants for this. Information given to participants must cover:

  • what personal data will be retained in the archived data
  • in which form the data will be archived (for instance, only interview transcripts or audio recordings as well)
  • for what use purposes the data containing identifying information can be released from the data archive (only for research or also for teaching and study)
  • where the data will be stored
  • the body administering access to the data (access permissions and conditions and terms of use)

The Finnish Social Science Data Archive has published an information sheet describing its activities, and its data processing and dissemination practices. If the data will be archived at the FSD, the information sheet can be given to research participants as part of the information package, to augment information on future use of the data. Giving the information sheet to participants is not enough in itself, researchers should still inform them on how the data will be used after the research has been completed, in line with the instructions given above. If informing is done over the Internet, a link to the information sheet can be provided instead of a paper copy.

» Information sheet on the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research participants (pdf)

If you are planning to collect data that you wish to deposit at the FSD with personal data included, you are welcome to contact our User Services before data collection for further advice (email: asiakaspalvelu.fsd at uta.fi).

PART IV: Examples of informing research participants

The following examples may help you to plan the information to potential participants of your study. Please note, however, that the information requirements depend on the nature of your research.

  1. Questionnaire survey
  2. Qualitative interview
  3. Writing request
  4. Combining register data with interview or questionnaire data
  5. Observation
  6. Recording real-life interaction

1. Questionnaire survey

The cover letter or the attached information sheet introducing the study must contain contact details of the researcher(s) and information about the study, as well as information on from which source the contact details for potential participants have been obtained.

Potential participants can be informed of the voluntary nature of participation, privacy protection in research publications, and reuse of the data in the following manner, for instance:

Participation in the study is voluntary. It is important, however, for the reliability and representativeness of the study that people with different opinions and viewpoints participate.

Your responses will be kept anonymous and confidential.

The data collected will be analysed using statistical methods, and therefore the information supplied by any individual participant cannot be identified. Research findings will be reported in publications in the form of statistical tables and graphs.

The electronic data that will be formed of the responses given will be permanently archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) for further research, teaching and study purposes. The archived data will be anonymised to prevent identification of any individual participant.

If the data will be archived at the FSD, information provided to participants can include an information sheet describing the activities and practices of the data archive. If the informing is done over the Internet, a link to the information sheet can be provided instead of a paper copy.

» Information on the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research participants (pdf)

2. Qualitative interview

Contact details of the researcher(s) and information on the study should be presented at the beginning of the information provided. Voluntary nature of participation, data collection method, measures for maintaining confidentiality, privacy protection in research publications and data archiving plans can be expressed in the following manner, for instance:

Participation to the interview is voluntary. The interviewee has the right to terminate the interview at any time or to decline to answer any question.

The interview will take 30 minutes. The interview will be audio recorded and subsequently transcribed into a text file.

The confidentiality of the interview will be ensured by the procedure whereby researchers and research assistants processing the recordings will sign an undertaking of confidentiality.

A transcribed text file will be produced of the interview. During transcription, the name of the interviewee and any third parties mentioned in the interview will be removed or replaced by pseudonyms. If need be, place names and other proper names (e.g. names of workplaces) will also be removed or altered in order to prevent any risk of identification.

The audio recording will be deleted after the interview has been transcribed.

Publications or presentations on the interviews will be written in a manner that no interviewee or third parties mentioned in the interview will be identifiable. Research publications may include direct quotations from the interviews. The gender, age and occupation of the interviewee will be mentioned in connection with the quotation.

After the research has been completed, the anonymised interview transcripts will be stored permanently at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research purposes OR for research, teaching and study purposes.

In the example above, participants are told what information will be given of them if they are quoted in research publications (gender, age and occupation). Sometimes just gender and age, or age group, are sufficient as background information. Occupation or the less revealing occupational group can be replaced or completed with other background information. The amount of background information given of an interviewee with a quotation depends on the nature and requirements of the study.

If interview topics are not sensitive, it may be enough to give verbal information to participants. If there is intention to deposit the data at the FSD, the key content of the verbal information given must be carefully documented in writing. Researchers can also begin interviews by repeating the verbal information to participants and obtaining their verbal consent again, thus capturing both into the recorded interview file.

If the data will be archived at the FSD, information provided to participants can include an information sheet describing the activities and practices of the data archive. If the informing is done over the Internet, a link to the information sheet can be provided instead of a paper copy.

» Information on the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research participants (pdf)

3. Writing request

General information on the study as well as contact details to the person or body responsible for it should be presented at the beginning of the writing request. Data collection arrangements, privacy protection measures in research publications and reuse of the data can be explained in the following manner, for instance:

Add your name, municipality of residence, age and occupation or former occupation to the beginning of your written account. If you wish, you can send your text using a pseudonym but even in this case, please add information on your age, gender, municipality of residence and occupation or former occupation to the beginning of the text. No limits have been set for the length of the text. There is no reward for participation nor will the text be returned to the person who provided it.

Research reports will contain extracts from the written accounts. Person names or other names enabling identification (school or workplace names etc) will be removed or altered in the published extracts. The author's gender, age and occupation will be mentioned in connection with a published extract.

After the research has been completed, the written accounts will be archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) for further research purposes (OR for research, teaching and study purposes). The authors' person names, contact details and other identifying information (for example, proper names and geographical information) will be removed from the archived data.

If you do not wish your text to be archived after the study has been completed, please indicate so clearly in the beginning of your text. If you choose this option, your text will be destroyed at the end of the study.

The example above says that the author's gender, age and occupation will me mentioned in connection with a published extract. Sometimes it is sufficient to give only the writer's gender and age, or age group. Occupation or the less identifiable occupational group can be replaced or completed with other background information. The information given on the writer depends on the nature and requirements of the study.

If the data will be archived at the FSD, information provided to participants can include an information sheet describing the activities and practices of the data archive. If the informing is done over the Internet, a link to the information sheet can be provided instead of a paper copy.

» Information on the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research participants (pdf)

If needed, inform participants also about the transfer of copyright and ownership

» Agreement with external parties concerning the transfer of copyright and ownership rights

4. Combining register or official record data with survey data

Information given to potential participants includes contact details of the researcher(s) and information on the study. Voluntary nature of participation must be mentioned as well

If register information will be combined with a questionnaire survey, information supplied should specify what register information will be linked to the survey data, for which purposes the data will be used and where it will be stored. If the invited participant decides to respond to the survey, this decision constitutes his or her consent to the linkage of register and survey data. Information regarding the linking of register data to data supplied by participants should be clearly visible (for example, a separate sentence in its own paragraph and in bolded text).

If the linkage of register or record data to survey data (questionnaire or interview data) requires consent from research participants, consent can be obtained in different ways. If the combined data do not contain sensitive data, clear information on the linking of data from different sources will be enough (see example 1 below).

If the linkage includes sensitive data, an explicit consent must be obtained for this, generally in writing. For consent to be explicit, the participant has to signify his agreement by a clear affirmative action. This can be done, for example, by asking participants to tick or circle in the consent form the option where they accept that the information they supply will be combined with register or official record data Alternatively, the questionnaire may include an option that the participant needs to tick to allow the linking of data (example 2) or participants can be asked to sign a separate written consent for the linking of data (example 3).

Example 1:
Responses supplied by research participants in the questionnaire/interview will be combined with information relating to them in the registers N and M.

Example 2:
[ ] Data relating to me in registers N and M can be linked to the information I supply in the questionnaire.

Example 3:
Data relating to me in registers N and M can be linked to the information I supply in the questionnaire/interview.

Date

________________________
Signature of the participant

Procedures for maintaining confidentiality, privacy protection in research publications and reuse of the data can be explained like this, for example:

Information relating to research participants will not be disclosed to registrars, other public authorities or outsiders. Therefore, participation in or withdrawal from the study will not in any way affect the services research subjects receive from these authorities.

Research findings will be reported in a manner which prevents the identification of any individual participant.

After the research has been completed, the data will be anonymised in a way that will prevent identification of any participant. The anonymised, combined dataset will be permanently archived for further research, teaching and study purposes.

If the data will be archived at the FSD, information provided to participants can include an information sheet describing the activities and practices of the data archive. If the informing is done over the Internet, a link to the information sheet can be provided instead of a paper copy.

» Information on the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research participants (pdf)

» Check the basics for combining survey data with register/record information

More information on combining register or administrative data with survey data can be obtained from the Office of Data Protection Ombudsman

»Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman

5. Observation

If a researcher is observing breaks at school, for instance, he or she can give verbal information to the pupils or ask the tutors to do the informing. The custodians of the pupils can be informed by asking the school to forward a letter from the researcher where he or she tells about the study and the observational activities involved.

I'm conducting a study on play and social interaction in your child's primary school. I will observe and make notes of pupil activities and interaction during school breaks during the first weeks of August and September. I will not record the names of the pupils nor show my notes to the teachers or other staff members. The anonymous notes recorded during my observation will be used in my study. After my research has been completed, I will archive my notes as text files at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for subsequent research use.

More information on my study [web address].

Information on Finnish Social Science Data Archive (pdf brochure).

6. Recording real-life interaction

Contact details of the researcher(s) and information on the study should be presented at the beginning of the informing. Data collection method, voluntary nature of participation, procedures for maintaining confidentiality, privacy protection in research publications and reuse of the data can be explained, for instance, in the following manner:

Thank you for participating in our study. We wish to record the meetings of your team during the time period 1 February - 31 May 2015. If for any reason you decide that you do not want a meeting you participate in to be recorded, please indicate so to the secretary and she will not start the recording.

The persons processing and analysing the video recordings will be requested to sign an undertaking of confidentiality. The recordings will be stored for 10 years in the department N of the organisation X in secure equipment that has no Internet connection. Access to the recordings requires personal access codes. The director of the department N is responsible for controlling access to the data and for granting access codes.

The video recordings will only be used for research and theses focusing on interaction, conducted in the department N and led by professor [first name, surname], and only in cases where the analysis requires the use of the recordings themselves (for example, for an interaction analysis covering non-verbal clues such as the body movements, facial expressions and vocal intonations).

The recorded speech interaction will be transcribed. The transcribed text files will be anonymised and the real names of the speakers replaced by pseudonyms. Client names will also be changed to pseudonyms and other identifying information relating to them removed (for example, personal identification numbers, exact birth dates, addresses and other location information referring to clients).

The video recordings of the meetings or parts thereof will not be used in any research publications nor will they ever be presented in public (in scientific conferences etc). Direct extracts of the transcribed and anonymised text files may be used in publications.

The video recordings will be erased 10 years from the recording, that is, on 31 May 2025. The anonymised transcribed text files will be archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research, teaching and study purposes.

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updated 2016-01-27