- 3.1. Consent Forms
- 3.2. Platform Consent Funnel
- 3.3. Ethics Advisory Board
- 3.4. Privacy Settings
- 3.5. Participant Observation
1. Ethnographic Materials
These are the different kinds of ethnographic materials you can gather during fieldwork, and procedures for putting them onto the platform for coding.
Conduct interview then post on platform
To post an interview on the platform, create a new topic. Title it as you please, but make sure to assign two Discourse tags: ethno-poprebel and interview-poprebel. Ideally, use the Tell Form procedure described in 2.2 to have interviewees post their own interviews on the platform.
Either way, it is best to break up the interviews based on each question – so that each new question is a “reply” on the thread, rather than one long post. This will make it easier for us to code.
Do a Text-Based Interview on Platform
You can ask a participant to respond to your questions asynchronously or in real-time on the platform.
1.2. Field Notes
To post your field notes on the platform, create a new topic. Title it as you please, but make sure to assign two Discourse tags: ethno-poprebel and fieldnotes-poprebel.
1.3. Focus Groups
Host conversations or focus groups on platform .
You can also host conversations on the platform – holding digital focus groups, events, etc. Make sure to add the Discourse tag ethno-poprebel.
You can upload videos, photos, and other multimedia onto the platform in a post. Use the hyperlink or upload button to do so. You can also embed the video using the “embed” function on YouTube, by copying the Embed code. Tag the content ethno-poprebel.
Set up a survey on platform .
If you click on the wheel at the far right of a post when you are making it, you can build a poll to ask participants questions. You can export the poll data when you are finished.
Tag the content ethno-poprebel and survey-poprebel.
For a sample project showing these different kinds of data and how to put them on platform, see Amelia’s Smart Cities project.
2. Onboarding Participants to the Platform
2.1 Creating an Edgeryders Account Manually
Participants can create an Edgeryders account in the same way you did, by inputting an email and a username. When they do so, they will automatically go through the Edgeryders consent funnel. Then they can write their own posts, comment on others’, etc. You can convene group conversations with them on the platform and ask them questions by pinging them using their username (preceded by the @ symbol).
2.2 Using Tell Forms
Tell Forms are useful for surveys (getting a larger group of people to answer the same questions, attached to their own usernames) and interviews (to get people to upload their own interviews, and therefore attach their contribution to their own username). You can direct content from the Tell Form to show up on the public page or on the protected page.
See the guide to setting up a Tell Form here:
Ideally, interviewees will post their own interview. Here is the procedure for doing this using a tell form:
Create the Tell Form configured with the questions you want to ask the interviewees.
At the beginning of the interview, explain that at its end they would be asked to provide a username and e-mail address and that an account would be created for them at edgeryders.eu with that information and their transcribed answers would be posted under that account. Explain that they would get a confirmation email and that they could log in and update or delete the post at any time, and that they can also participate in the conversation as they please.
Transcribe their answers during or after the interview.
When you are done with the transcription, ask them to choose a username and provide an e-mail address. Explain that the e-mail address will not be made public and will only be available to the POPREBEL project team. Also explain that they can choose a username that makes them anonymous if they so please.
Asked the participant to carefully read the consent text, and then to check the consent box themselves and press the send button . The consent text should be as follows (here in English only, but potentially also translated):
“I understand that submitting this form will create an account for me on edgeryders.eu, and that my responses will be posted by that account. I understand that I can log in at any time and update my answer or continue the conversation with other participants. I understand that this form is used for community driven research. Researchers are encouraged to treat your answers as a window into societal, economic, technological, and political trends and transformations that affect us.”
3. Ethics, Informed Consent and Data Protection
3.1 Consent Forms
Here is a sample consent form language. Please make sure you translate it and adapt it for the content of your study.
Ethics in the ethnographic case studies conform to the research ethics detailed in the European Commissions’ Research Ethics in Ethnography/Anthropology. All participants will recieve a participant information sheet (detailed below) with information about the project filled in:
PARTICIPANT INFORMATION SHEET for INFORMED CONSENT
European Commission Project Grant Agreement ID: 822682
1. What is the purpose of this research?
The purpose of the study is to analyse political and cultural changes occurring in Europe, particularly as they have been affected by COVID-19.
2. Do I have to take part?
No. You can ask questions about the study before deciding whether or not to participate. If you do agree to participate, you may withdraw yourself and the data you have provided from the study at any time during the interview, without giving a reason and without penalty, by advising the researchers of this decision. If after the interview you choose to withdraw, please contact RESEARCHER (contact information at beginning and end of this document) before December 2021, when the project results will be finalised and published.
3. What will happen to me if I take part in the research?
If you are happy to take part in the research, you may be asked to attend an interview [FILL IN ENGAGEMENT TYPE] at a location of your choosing, including online. This will take from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours of your time.
Upon arrival, I will talk you through the study procedures another time and give you the chance to ask any questions. If you are still happy to take part, you will then be asked to give oral consent, which I will record on a form in front of you, or written consent, if you prefer. I will not have you sign a form so that your name will not be recorded at any time during the study, in order to protect your anonymity, but you are also welcome to sign a form which I will keep in a locked file for the duration of the study, then destroy.
I will then interview you about your opinions and experiences in your workplace, home, and city. I, with your permission, will take notes on your statements, which you may request to see at any time. You can skip any question, ask that any of your previous answers be removed, and/or stop the interview at any time.
I will also be audio recording you if you give permission, but this is not necessary if it makes you uncomfortable. Any audio recordings I take will also be kept safely and confidentially, and separately from any other data you give. I will delete them once I transcribe them (which I will do within 1-7 days of the interview), and strip any identifiable information from the transcription.
If you give me permission to do so, I may contact you for a follow-up interview.
4. Are there any potential risks in taking part?
This study poses minimal risk to participants. Depending on where you choose to give the interview, it is possible that your responses could be overheard by others in the vicinity, or that you will be seen entering an interview location by other people. To minimise any potential risks, all information you provide will be anonymized and your identity will be kept completely confidential (see more detail on data storage below).
5. Are there any benefits in taking part?
There are no direct benefits to you for participating in this research study. The study may contribute to understanding the effects of COVID on political and social change in your country and in Europe, helping to build a better future. As a result it may have indirect benefit to participants. There will be no payment for taking part in this study.
6. What happens to the data provided?
I will store any information you provide safely and confidentially in accordance with European Data Protection Legislation. I will assign you a pseudonym and numerical code and ensure that these are the only identifiers attached to your data, so that you and your responses remain anonymous. I will keep any contact information you give me in an encrypted password-protected file separated from any information you tell me. When the study is completed and the data has been analysed, I will destroy this file. In any publications or presentations, I will not include any information that will make it possible to identify you as a participant. All research data and records will be stored for 5-10 years after publication or public release of the work of the research. The POPREBEL ethnographic research team will be the only one with access to primary research data.
I would like your permission to use direct quotes, which will also be pseudonymised and not identifiable. Please let me know if you would prefer not to be quoted verbatim.
7. Will the research be published?
The European Commission is committed to the dissemination of its research for the benefit of society and the economy and, in support of this commitment, has established an open access policy to dissemination of research findings. This gives easy access for researchers to the project findings, thereby increasing the likely impact and use of that research. There may be journal articles and books published based upon the research. All personal information that could identify you will be removed or changed before results are made public.
8. Who is organising and funding the research?
This study is being conducted by a researcher on the European Commission project POPREBEL. The research will specifically be done by INSERT NAME, a researcher at INSERT INSTITUTION. It is funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.
9. Who do I contact if I have a concern about the study or I wish to complain?
If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, please speak to the relevant researcher (contact information at beginning and end of this document) or their ethics advisor (contact information at beginning and end of this document), who will do their best to answer your query. The researcher should acknowledge your concern within 10 working days and give you an indication of how they intend to deal with it. If you remain unhappy or wish to make a formal complaint, please contact the Principal Investigator, Professor Jan Kubik: email@example.com
10. Further Information and Contact Details
If you would like to discuss the research with someone beforehand (or if you have questions afterwards), please contact (INSERT YOUR CONTACT):
Please refer to the Edgeryders Consent Process Manual for a more detailed discussion of research ethics procedures.
3.2 Platform Consent Funnel
EDGE produces a detailed and clear “consent funnel”, replacing the traditional (and ethically ineffective) “I accept the Terms and Conditions” box to tick. A consent funnel is a gateway to the platform where participants can consent to sharing and handling of their information for the purpose of the project, inspired by the principles of honesty and transparency of the Portable Legal Consent (http://sagebase.org/e-consent). The idea is that the platform asks first-time users questions aimed at making sure they understand that they are in a public space for debate and should not reveal personal information unless they are comfortable with it being public. Users are not allowed to post until they get the questions right.The rules for access to all data, the mechanisms of protection, and the risks that entails from technical incompleteness (even with best practice) are disclosed in natural and clearly understandable language, with easy to get pointers to the mechanisms to opt in and out at any time.
In order to minimise data protection related risks, EDGE has put in place the following measures:
Does not ask questions pertaining to anything personally sensitive (address, ethnicity, medical conditions, political opinions and so on). Users may share information about themselves in post form, intended for publication, but such information is never saved in a structured database.
Does not do surveillance. Cookies are used only to provide notifications (e.g. new replies to the user’s post).
Never shares its data with third parties. Login through IDs provided by commercial companies (Facebook, Google etc.) is disallowed.
Does not enforce a real name policy, though some users do elect to use their real names as usernames.
Does store one personal datapoint for each and every user, which is the email address. The user cannot be created without it. However, users are allowed (and pointed to in the information pages) to use one-time email services, such as Guerrillamail (https://www.guerrillamail.com/)
Does have fields in the user ID for Facebook and Twitter identities. These are, however, not necessary to creating a user.
Does encrypt passwords (via a hashing algorithm) and transactions (via https).
Is compliant with European data protection law. Specifically:
Has established an appropriate data protection policy.
Has appointed a data protection lead, Mr Matthias Ansorg.
Has registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Has made privacy notices readily available to individuals.
Has established a simple process to recognise and respond to individuals’ requests to access their personal data.
The measures above are applied to everything that takes place on the edgeryders.eu platform.
3.3 Ethics Advisory Board
- EDGE appoints an Advisory Board for Ethics and Impact to obtain independent peer reviewing of the practices proposed within the project as it develops. Its members are:
Dr Marco Manca, a medical doctor (http://www.linkedin.com/in/mmanca). He is Senior Research Fellow at CERN and co-founder of ScImpulse Foundation. He lead the ethics section at OPENCARE (https://opencare.cc), a project that was applauded by reviewers for its highly advanced ethical stance.
Dr Alberto Alemanno, a legal scholar (he is Jean Monnet Chair for EU law at HEC Paris), and a civil society activist operating at a European level (founder of The Good Lobby: http://thegoodlobby.eu/). http://albertoalemanno.eu/about/
Working with the ABEI, we produce a detailed and clear “consent funnel”, replacing the traditional (and ethically ineffective) “I accept the Terms and Conditions” box to tick. A consent funnel is a gateway to the platform where participants can consent to sharing and handling of their information for the purpose of the project, inspired to the principles of honesty and transparency of the Portable Legal Consent (http://sagebase.org/e-consent). The idea is that the platform asks first-time users questions aimed at making sure they understand that they are in a public space for debate and should not reveal personal information unless they are comfortable with it being public. Users are not allowed to post until they get the questions right.
The rules for access to all data, the mechanisms of protection, and the risks that entails from technical incompleteness (even with best practice) are disclosed in natural and clearly understandable language, with easy to get pointer to the mechanisms to opt in and out at any time.
3.4 Privacy Settings
3.5 Participant Observation
- “non-interference” is not a sufficient measure for ethical consent, but interference certainly requires disclosure of researcher status and information about project and data use.
- The first step is to identify the context of the space – do participants think it’s public, private, or somewhere in between? What is their expectation of where and how the information in that space will be used? You have to tailor your disclosure to that expectation and not use information in ways they are not expecting or anticipating (and therefore have not protected themselves for).
- If there are moderators, talk to them first before performing participant-observation.
- If there is an effective way to disclose researcher status up front, do so.
- If technical capacities prevent this, two steps are needed (and both should be followed anyway):
- Once material is used, disclose it at that point – make sure participants/the community has a way of accessing the results of the participant-observation.
The big picture here is that ethical participant-observation in any space requires the ethnographer/researcher to ensure they have a very good understanding of what the collective they are studying assumes tacitly about whether or not their activity or utterances are public, and whether or not they planned for a discussion or activity to be public and the information from it be publicly available. Our evaluations of this public/private line, which is a continuum, have to be context-enriched and decisions about ethical practice and use have to match informant understandings of where on that continuum they are.
4. Main themes of conversation in 2021
Let’s collect in this section all our ideas for the themes of conversation. I will start this list now. @Wojt @amelia @SZdenek @Richard @Jirka_Kocian - please share your thoughts here. Then we will edit.
Themes (Jan and Wojt)
Gender and sexual orientation (gender ideology, women’s protests, stigmatization of and attacks on LGBT people, etc.)
Religion and churches (the role of religion in politics, etc.)