PhDer Studying Healthcare Literacy and Virtual Worlds Seeks Participants

Participant Information Sheet

PhD Glasgow Caledonian University Scotland

Project Title – Health literacy skills of people who access health information in virtual worlds and the impact on real life health behaviour?

Thank you for taking the time to read this information. You are being invited to take part in a study to find out about how people look for, understand and use health information found in 3D virtual worlds, like Second Life© and if this information influences your real life health behaviour, such as stopping smoking, reducing alcohol or managing a health condition. Before you decide, it is important to understand why this study is being done and what it will involve. This information leaflet tells you what the study is about and what you will be asked to do if you agree to take part. If there is anything that is not clear, or if you would like further information, please do not hesitate to ask me. I can be contacted by instant message in-world Second Life: Kali Pizzaro or by email Evelyn.McElhinney@gcu.ac.uk (further contact details at the end of this notice). This information is yours to keep and please feel free to discuss it with anyone else that you wish to.

What is the purpose of this Research?
There has been an increase in the use of 3D virtual worlds as a way to deliver health information in the past few years; sometimes via slides, videos, interactive games, or by talking to a healthcare practitioner. This study aims to find out how people look for, understand, and use health information found in 3D virtual worlds and if the information influences what you do with regards to health behaviours in real life such as, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol, managing a health condition.

By finding out how people look for, use and understand health information we hope to be able to create healthcare information which is easy to find, understand and use to help people make healthcare decisions in real life.

This part of the study that you are being invited to take part in will be used to help me understand what health information people seek from virtual worlds and why, and their preferences for this. This information will help me to decide how to carry out the second part of the study which is to look at the impact of health information retrieved through virtual worlds on real life behaviours. The information collected during this part of the study will help me to identify which specific behaviours I will focus on in phase 2.

Why have I been chosen?
You have been chosen because you have said you have accessed health information in a 3D virtual world and have responded to the researcher’s advert about the study.

Do I have to take part?
It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part in the project. You will be asked to return the consent form either by dropping the note card to my avatar, by instant message to my avatar in Second Life – Kali Pizzaro or to my email Evelyn.McElhinney@gcu.ac.uk. Any data retrieved will be kept entirely confidential and it will not be possible to identify you from the findings. If you decide to take part you will still be free to change your mind and withdraw from the study. You don’t need to explain why. It will be possible to ask me to destroy your data up to seven days after it has been collected.

What do I have to do?
You will be asked to take part in an in-world interview via either; private voice call or private text instant message (you can choose whichever method you prefer). This will take part in a private (no other avatars will be able to get into the area – teleport only by me) area within the University island. I will ask you some questions about what kinds of health information you look for in Second Life and why, your preferences on the format of this kind of information (text, voice, interactive quiz, video) and whether the information influences how you do things like, managing your condition or making decisions about your health. Our conversations will be transcribed so that I can use this for analysis purposes to provide an accurate reflection of our discussion. Your avatar name will be removed from these transcripts to ensure anonymity and confidentiality.

You will also be asked to fill in a form with information about your age, gender, where you live, etc. This is to help me work out who took part in the study and whether people’s experiences or perceptions about health information in virtual worlds are different from each other.

All information that you provide will be stored on a password protected Glasgow Caledonian university computer. Back-up of this information will be stored on an encrypted USB stick which will be in a locked secure environment. Your avatar name will be removed from the text or voice transcript (written notes of the voice conversation) and a coding system will be used by the researcher to identify you. Only the researcher and their supervisor will have access to this information.

What are the possible risks and benefits of taking part?
There are no known risks to taking part in this study. Our interview will take up to an hour of your time. You may find some benefit from talking about your experience and perceptions and knowing that these may help us to develop health information within virtual worlds, which will ultimately benefit others who seek for health information. It is possible that you may benefit from this if you are looking for health information in the future.

What if there’s a problem?
If you have any concerns about this study, you should speak to me, and I will do my best to answer your questions (see contact details on page 2). If you remain unhappy please contact my supervisor, Professor Francine Cheater (see contact details on next page). It is not expected that any harm will result from taking part in this study. The University’s professional negligence insurance cover provided by Zurich Municipal includes provision for no fault compensation.

What will happen to the results of the research study?
The results will help us to learn more about how people look for, understand and use health information in virtual worlds. This will tell us how we might better provide information in virtual worlds and support people to find, understand and use this in the future. The findings from this first phase will help to determine how we will carry out the second phase of the work which is to look at the impact of health information retrieved through virtual worlds on real life behaviours. The first phase will help to identify which specific behaviours we will focus on in phase 2.

These findings will also form part of my PhD thesis and future publications. It will not be possible to identify anyone who has taken part.

Will taking part in this project be kept confidential?
I will keep your participation in the study and anything you do or tell me during the study, confidential. If you consent to take part in the study, the study results will be written about in my PhD thesis and may be published in journal articles in the future. However, it will not be possible to identify anyone who took part in the research from this information. Your avatar name will be removed from the text or voice transcript (recording) and a coding system will be used by the researcher to identify you. Only the researcher and their supervisor will have access to this information.

Who is organising this research?
This project is being conducted for the purpose of a PhD Doctorate award. Funding will be absorbed by Glasgow Caledonian University.

Who has reviewed this study?
In keeping with the requirements for a Glasgow Caledonian University Higher degree this project will be monitored and supervised by an appropriate academic supervisory team. The research has also been passed by the School of Health’s research ethics committee.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information leaflet.

Contact for further information
Evelyn McElhinney
(Second Life: Kali Pizzaro)
Lecturer in Advanced Practice
School of Health and Life Sciences
Glasgow Caledonian University
Cowcaddens Road
Glasgow G4 ABX
+ 44 (0) 141 331 8791
Evelyn.McElhinney@gcu.ac.uk

Director of Studies
Professor Francine M Cheater
Director, Institute for Applied Health Research
Head of Research School of Health and Life Sciences
Glasgow Caledonian University
Cowcaddens Road
Glasgow
G4 ABX
Tel: +44 (0) 141 331 3427
Francine.cheater@gcu.ac.uk

Independent Information
Professor Bonnie Steves
Director of the Graduate School,
Glasgow Caledonian University
Cowcaddens Road
Glasgow
G4 ABX
TEL: +44 141 331 3619
B.Steves@gcu.ac.uk

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