Understanding the software used to analyse social sciences data - Participant Information Sheet

Project title: Understanding the software used to analyse social sciences data 

Principal investigator: Neil Chue Hong 

Researchers collecting data: Mario Antonioletti, Johanna Walker, Selina Aragon 

Funder: Economics and Social Sciences Research Council 


This study was certified according to the EPCC Research Ethics Process. Please take time to read the following information carefully. You should keep this page for your records.  


Who are the researchers? 

  • Mr. Neil Chue Hong, EPCC, University of Edinburgh 
  • Dr. Mario Antonioletti, EPCC, University of Edinburgh 
  • Dr. Johanna Walker, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton 
  • Ms. Selina Aragon, EPCC, University of Edinburgh 

This study is run by the UK Software Sustainability Institute (SSI - https://www.software.ac.uk). The SSI champions and supports the cause of digital tools and computer-aided methodologies (aka software) in the research process. 


What is the purpose of the study? 

The purpose of this study is to provide a current view of the software used by social sciences researchers to generate, collect and analyse data, and how it is used and maintained. This will enable a better understanding of the trends, gaps, and differences in the use of research software and digital research infrastructure in the social sciences. This preliminary study will help inform and shape future digital research infrastructure and research software strategy for the UKRI-ESRC. 


Why have I been asked to take part? 

You have been identified, or identify, as a researcher in the economic and social sciences, or as someone who supports social sciences research, e.g. a research software engineer, infrastructure provider, or trainer/educator.  


Do I have to take part? 

No – participation in this study is entirely up to you. You can withdraw from the study at any time up until the point when your data is delinked for analysis, without giving a reason. After this point, personal data will be deleted and anonymised data will be combined so that it will not be possible to remove individual information from the analysis. Your rights will not be affected. If you wish to withdraw, contact the PI. We will stop using your data in any publications or presentations submitted after you have withdrawn consent. We will keep copies of your original consent, and of your withdrawal request. 


What will happen if I decide to take part?  

You will take part in a 30-45 minute online interview. Interviews will be guided by a set of questions that have been carefully considered in relation to the results of our survey and wider research into the topic. The interviews will be conducted using Zoom, and each session will be recorded using the Zoom recording capabilities and transcribed to facilitate data anonymisation and analysis. You will be asked to choose one of the available dates for your interview via Calendly.  

You will be paid a £50 shopping voucher for your participation in this study. 


Are there any risks associated with taking part? 

There are no significant risks associated with participation. 


Are there any benefits associated with taking part? 

We offer a £50 voucher to interview participants that participate in an interview. An indirect benefit is that your answers will get collated into the final report sent to UKRI-ESRC which may be used to inform future ESRC digital infrastructure strategy.  


What will happen to the results of this study?  

The results of this study will be published in a report and dataset, and may be used in further works including academic papers, presentations and blog posts.  

All data will be anonymised prior to analysis. Quotes or key findings will be anonymised: We will remove any information that could, in our assessment, allow anyone to identify you. With your consent, information can also be used for future research. Your data may be archived for a maximum of 2 years. All potentially identifiable data will be deleted within this timeframe if it has not already been deleted as part of anonymisation.  


Data protection and confidentiality 

Your data will be processed in accordance with Data Protection Law.  All information collected about you will be kept strictly confidential. After transcription, your data will be referred to by a unique participant number rather than by name. Your data will only be viewed by the researcher/research team: Neil Chue Hong, Mario Antonioletti, Johanna Walker, Selina Aragon. 

All electronic data will be stored on a password-protected encrypted computer, on the University’s secure encrypted cloud storage services (DataShare, ownCloud/DataSync, or Sharepoint) and any paper records will be stored in a locked filing cabinet in the PI’s office. Your consent information will be kept separately from your responses in order to minimise risk.  


What are my data protection rights? 

The University of Edinburgh is a Data Controller for the information you provide. You have the right to access information held about you. Your right of access can be exercised in accordance with Data Protection Law. You also have other rights including rights of correction, erasure and objection. For more details, including the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, please visit www.ico.org.uk. Questions, comments and requests about your personal data can also be sent to the University Data Protection Officer at dpo@ed.ac.uk.  


Who can I contact? 

If you have any further questions about the study, please contact the lead researcher, Neil Chue Hong n.chuehong@epcc.ed.ac.uk   

If you wish to make a complaint about the study, please contact the Chair of the University of Edinburgh’s College of Science and Engineering Research Ethics & Integrity Committee, Prof. Andy Mount, a.mount@ed.ac.uk, or fill out the Research Misconduct Informal Reporting Form (link: https://www.ed.ac.uk/science-engineering/research/research-ethics/research-misconduct). When you contact us, please provide the study title and detail the nature of your complaint. 


Updated information 

If the research project changes in any way, an updated Participant Information Sheet will be provided to you. 


Alternative formats 

To request this document in an alternative format, such as large print or on coloured paper, please contact Selina Aragon, s.aragon@epcc.ed.ac.uk


General information 

For general information about how we use your data, go to: edin.ac/privacy-research 


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