Information Sheet for Research Project on Buddhism and the Paranormal

Hello! My name is Douglas Osto, and I am a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. I hold a Ph.D. in the Study of Religions from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London; a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University in World Religions; and a Master of Arts from the University of Washington in Asian Languages and Literature. My areas of specialization are Indian Mahayana Buddhism, Hinduism, South Asian philosophies, American Buddhism and altered states of consciousness. The purpose of my current research project is to investigate experiences of the paranormal by contemporary Buddhists throughout the world. The planned result of this study will be a book devoted to the topic.

Project Invitation
I would like to invite you to participate in this research by filling out an anonymous online questionnaire. At the end of this questionnaire, you will be asked if you would like to participate in a confidential 60-minute interview, which may be recorded. Please note that if you do wish to be interviewed, your survey answers will no longer remain anonymous to the researcher. However, the researcher will keep your identity and the identity of your organization strictly confidential. 

Participant Identification and Recruitment
In order to take part in this study you must be at least 18 years old. Also, you should have some interest in and/or involvement with Buddhism, and have had at least one unusual, anomalous, or paranormal experience you would like to share.

Project Procedures
Participation in this project involves either one or two stages. The first stage is for you to fill out the anonymous online survey questionnaire. This will take approximately 20-60 minutes. If you give your consent at the end of questionnaire to a confidential 60-minute interview, you may be contacted sometime afterward in order to set up an appointment for an interview.  Interviews may be conducted in person, over the phone, via Skype, instant messaging, or email.

Data Management
The data from the survey will be compiled for statistical analysis. The survey results will remain in the researcher’s sole possession during all stages of research. Data from the survey will be stored securely for five years after the publication of the book, at which time all copies will be destroyed.

Participant’s Rights
You are under no obligation to accept this invitation. If you decide to participate, you have the right to:
• decline to answer any particular question on the questionnaire or in the interview;
• withdraw from the study (within three months from the date of your interview);
• ask any questions about the study at any time during participation;
• provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless you give permission to the researcher;
• be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded;
• ask for the recorder to be turned off at any time during an interview.
• Completion of the survey questionnaire implies consent.
Project Contact
Dr. Douglas Osto
School of Humanities 
Massey University

This project has been evaluated by peer review and judged to be low risk. Consequently it has not been reviewed by one of the University's Human Ethics Committees. The researcher named in this document is responsible for the ethical conduct of this research.

If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research that you want to raise with someone other than the researcher(s), please contact Professor Craig Johnson, Director (Research Ethics), email:

Question Title

* 1. Have you read the Information Sheet and consent to the terms of this survey?

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