robin_anne_reid: (Treehouse)
robin_anne_reid ([personal profile] robin_anne_reid) wrote2019-01-31 03:57 pm

Informed Consent Letter: Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!: Secular Readings of Tolkien

 Information about Being in a Research Study
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!:
Secular Readings of J. R. R. Tolkien's Legendarium
Robin Anne Reid 
Description of the Study
Robin Anne Reid invites you to take part in her research study. She is a professor of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The purpose of this study is to learn how readers of J. R. R. Tolkien's Legendarium who are atheists, agnostics, animists, or part of New Age movements, specifically readers who do not believe in a supreme creator, interpret his work in the context of the common assumption that Tolkien's Catholic beliefs must play a part in what readers see as the meaning of his fiction. 
Your part in the study if you agree to participate will be to answer ten open-ended questions about your religious and/or spiritual background, your experiences of Tolkien's work, and your ideas about the relationship between religious beliefs and interpreting his work, and to supply information about 6 demographic factors. 
Depending on how much you choose to write in response to the questions, it will take you anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to complete the survey.
Risks and Discomforts
There will be minimal risks associated with this study, no more than that encountered in daily life.  
Possible Benefits
I do not know of any way you could benefit directly from taking part in this study. However, the project may help us understand how readers' responses to and understandings of literary texts is related to their personal beliefs and why Tolkien's work has become an international and global phenomenon that appeals to so many different types of readers. 
No financial or other compensation will be offered to participants.
Protection of Privacy and Confidentiality
Collecting Data
I request some basic demographic information to determine if the demographic make-up of Tolkien readers is similar to the demographics of nonreligious and secular groups in the general population. However, no personally identifying information is requested, such as your name, and you do not need to supply the demographic information to complete the survey. The demographic information requested is: gender, ethnicity, age, nationality, political identification, and an open "other" response. 
There is a possibility that you might provide specific information in your answers that, in the context of the demographic information you share, would result in information that is personally identifiable. However, I will not correlate demographic information with the answers to the open-ended questions in my analysis. None of your responses will be connected to the demographic information you supply.   
The final question of the survey asks for a contact email if you wish to be contacted for a follow-up interview. If you choose to leave an email address, that address will not be published or circulated, and only I will use it. I will not ask for personally identifiable information in the interview which will focus on asking for elaboration of your answers in the survey.
In addition, in collecting, storing, and analyzing the data collected, I will do everything I can to protect your anonymity, confidentiality, and privacy. 
The survey has been created on my individual paid Survey Monkey account; only I have access to this account. The only type of collector I am using is a web link to the survey has been posted on my private academic Dreamwidth blog: I am not using other types of collectors such as Facebook that collect data on users.  
In addition, Survey Monkey has an "Anonymous Responses collector option" which lets me choose not to track and store identifiable respondent information in my survey results. I have chosen not to store or track respondent information. 
Survey Monkey does record respondent IP addresses and store them for 13 months but then deletes them. Basic information about Survey Monkey's privacy policies and practices can be found on this site:  
The second section on this page gives information for people who respond to surveys.
Complete information about their privacy policy (as of April 11, 2018) can be found here: 
Specific information for respondents can be found at that site, including how they meet the European Union Privacy Shield requirements. 

The survey has SSL Encryption turned on which improves security by encrypting the survey and the results as they are sent between you and SurveyMonkey.

Storing Data
The survey data will be exported from Survey Monkey onto the hard drive of my password-protected computer. The exported data will not be shared either online or offline with anyone. One back-up copy will be maintained on a password-protected external hard drive. I will be the only person who can access the data. 
I will delete the survey from Survey Monkey at the end of the survey period (November 21, 2018-January 30, 2019).  The survey will close on January 31, 2019, 11:30 PM GMT-0500 Central Daylight Time.
Choosing to Be in the Study
You do not have to be in this study. You may choose not to take part and you may choose to stop taking part at any time. You may choose not to answer any of the questions. Participation is voluntary. Refusal to participate or withdraw at any time will not involve any penalty or loss of benefits, to which the subject is otherwise entitled. You will not be punished in any way if you decide not to be in the study or to stop taking part in the study.

Electronic Consent 

Clicking on the web link below indicates that:

  • you have read the above information
  • you voluntarily agree to participate in this survey
  • you are at least 18 years of age
Contact Information
If you have any questions or concerns about this study or if any problems arise, please contact the researcher at 
Robin Anne Reid
Department of Literature and Languages
Texas A&M University-Commerce 
If you have any questions or concerns about your rights in this research study, please contact the IRB Chair at: 
Dr. Tara Tietjen-Smith
Chair, Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Department of Health & Human Performance
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Commerce, TX 75429-3011
(903) - 886 - 5545