Participant Information Sheet

Qualified Selves (Co-Creation Events and Activities)

Our research team comprises Chris Speed from The University of Edinburgh; and Georgia Newmarch, Leon Cruickshank, Bran Knowles and Dan Richards from Lancaster University. The research is part of the EPSRC-funded project Qualified Selves.

What is the research about?

People are increasingly reliant on digital applications and services to store and manage their personal data (e.g. photos, documents, notes). This has produced an abundance of data from which various companies and organisations are able to derive new insights about individuals or groups of individuals (e.g. for commercial purposes); meanwhile, there is a lack of corresponding tools available for individuals to learn about themselvesthrough their personal data. This project will involve participants in helping to design tools that enable people to manage their various forms of data together, across different platforms and applications, in ways that lead to valuable personal insights.

Do I have to take part?

No.  It’s completely up to you to decide whether or not you take part in this project.

Your involvement is important for helping us understand how to design truly innovative solutions that enable people to derive real (and possibly new) value from their personal data.

We will audio record all events and workshops (in part or in whole). This will help review and analyse the information you provide.

We will video record all events and workshops (in part or in whole). This will provide documentation of the evolution of the project from start to finish.

Will my data be Identifiable?

The data collected for this study will be stored securely and only the named researchers will have access to this data.

  • We will treat your identity as confidential. 
  • We will anonymise all personal data collected from and related to you (e.g. name, age) to protect your identity. 
  • We will anonymise the typed version of events and workshops by removing any identifying information including your name. 
  • Anonymised direct quotations from you during these events and activities may be used in the reports or publications from the study, but your name will not be attached to them.

Note, however, that agreeing to participate in the documentary film about this project means that you may be identified.While your name and other identifying information will not be used in the film, your face will not be obscured and so you may be recognisable. 

Conversations and information disclosed remains within the project, and is anonymised with individuals’ identifying data kept confidential as stated above; however if what is said during these activities makes the researchers think that you, or someone else, are at significant risk of harm, we will have to speak to the principal investigator. We will tell you if we have to do this.

Where will data be retained, who will have access to it and why, and how long will it be stored?

All versions of documents, datasets (not including personal data that you may share with 

us by way of explanation), transcripts and audio recordings from the events and workshops will be stored on Lancaster University’s networked file store in a private folder which will be password-protected and only accessible to researchers working on the Qualified Selves project. All research data stored at Lancaster University is covered under the Data Protection Act (1998).

Anonymised, aggregated and transcribed audio recordings will be transferred to networked storage after the interviews. This data will be shared among the research partners (at Lancaster University, The University of Edinburgh and Microsoft Research Cambridge) using the Lancaster University supported high-grade secure storage system. Additional password protection will be added to any link containing confidential data.

The original audio recording files will be stored temporarily on a password protected recording device. These will be transferred as soon as possible (same day, usually) to the above secure storage system, and will be deleted from the recording device in the process. The audio files will be used at later dates only by us.

At the end of the project transcribed, anonymised, and aggregated versions of the recordings will be stored in Lancaster University’s data repository (via Pure) where it will be preserved according to Lancaster University’s Data Policy for at least 10 years. Data will be made freely available with a suitable data license that allows public access and reusability where appropriate.

Video files will be maintained by the videographer according to a confidentiality agreement. This ensures that your identity and the contents of the recorded activities are not passed on to any third parties; that footage and related materials are held securely on password protected PCs; that the final documentary will be transferred to the research team in password protected files; that this film (in part or whole) will not be screened, exhibited or published in any form outside of this project; and that any files will be destroyed at the earliest possible time after the finished documentary has been provided to the research team.

Any personal data that you share with us (researchers and fellow participants), will remain your property and will leave with you after each event and workshop.

A secure portal will be provided where you may deposit your video logs. These will be accessible by password only by yourself and the research team.

Hard copies of Personal Information Sheets and Consent Forms will be stored securely in a cabinet at Lancaster University. These will be shredded two years after the project’s completion. All files on the researchers’ computers will be encrypted (that is no-one other than the researchers will be able to access them) and the computers themselves will be password protected.  

For further information about how Lancaster University processes personal data for research purposes and your data rights please visit our webpage:

What will happen to the results?

The results will be summarised and reported in internal project reports and may be submitted for publication in academic or professional journals. If you wish to be informed of any publication outputs from the project, please let a researcher know (contact information provided at the end of this sheet). Results, including some of the tools you helped develop, will also be exhibited in public exhibitions in Manchester and London.

Are there any benefits to taking part?

By participating you can assist us in making our endeavour successful. By guiding us about the issues you face in managing your data, you will help us design tools that would benefit you and people like you. After the project is completed, we will work with Microsoft Research to develop these tools into products that you may use in the future. 

What are the risks of participation and what if I wish to withdraw from the study?

We do not anticipate any risks to you in participating. You can withdraw from this project at any time with no penalty. If you withdraw, all data collected from and relating to your participation up to two weeks prior will be deleted and not used in this project. Data collected earlier than this may still be used as it might already have been anonymised and/or analysed. For more information on this policy, see:

If I do not want to be audio-recorded can I still participate?

Yes, you can still participate even if you do not wish to be audio-recorded. However, in that case the value of your inputs might become less significant. The reason is that for research to address your inputs to the maximum, we need to be able to go back to what you have said and listen to the recordings numerous times to see we do not miss out anything. Without a recording, that will not be possible. If you do not want to be recorded then we will ask your permission to take written notes. We will type up these notes, anonymise them and save them in the secure data repository.

If I do not want to be video-recorded can I still participate?

We ask that you intend to participate in the making of the documentary film about this project. At any point, however, you may inform the videographer if there is footage you would not like him or her to use in the documentary.

Where can I obtain further information about the study if I need it?

If you have any questions about the study, please contact the local principal investigator at Lancaster University: Professor Leon Cruickshank, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4WA, T: +44 (0)1524 510874. E-mail:

Contact details of the researchers: 

Dr Georgia Newmarch, LAncaster

Professor Chris Speed, Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH3 9DF, T: +44 (0)131 651 5747. E-mail:

Professor Leon Cruickshank, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4WA, T: +44 (0)1524 510874. E-mail:

Dr Bran Knowles, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4WA, T: +44 (0)1524 592276. E-mail:

Dr Dan Richards, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4WA, T: +44 (0)1524 595122. E-mail:


If you wish to make a complaint or raise concerns about any aspect of this study and do not want to speak to the researcher, you can contact:

Judith Mottram, Head of Department, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, LICA Building, Lancaster, LA1 4YW

T: +44 (0)1524 594395. E-mail:

This study has been reviewed and approved by the Faculty of Arts and Society Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

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