Consent to Participate in Research: Survey of journalists at smaller-market newspapers in Canada

My name is April Lindgren. I am an associate professor at Ryerson University in the School of Journalism. I am working with researcher Cara Sabatini from the not-for-profit National NewsMedia Council, an alliance of the former provincial press councils, and together we would like to invite you to take part in our study of what it is like to be a local newspaper journalist working in 2017 for a newspaper with a print circulation under 50,000.

You are being asked to voluntarily complete this on-line survey. It involves questions about your role in your newspaper, industry changes and social media use and should take about 10-15 minutes to complete. To proceed with the survey you must click on the "I agree" at the end of this consent form. This acknowledges that you consent to participate in this survey. For all of your answers to be collected, you must select "Submit" at the end of the survey.

There is no direct benefit to you for taking part in this study. We hope that the research will enhance understanding of the newspaper sector in Canada. The Canadian survey results will also be compared to the results gathered in other countries. To date, the survey has been conducted in the United States by the University of Virginia and the University of Oregon with support from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. It is also being conducted by researchers in Spain and Austria.

If any of the survey questions make you uncomfortable or upset or you simply decide you do not want to answer some questions you are free to decline to answer those questions. You can also stop participating in the survey at any time by closing your browser. If you close your browser before getting to the end of the survey and have not clicked the ‘submit’ button, your information collected up to that point will not be used.

Your identity will be protected if you complete this survey. The survey is anonymous and as such will not collect information that will easily identify you, like your name or other unique identifiers. Although your Internet Protocol (IP) address can be tracked through the survey platform, the researcher/s will not be collecting this information. Your IP address may be observed only to ensure that one individual is not completing the survey multiple times.

We do ask that you consider providing us with the name of the region or community where your readers live so we can better understand the geographic reach of our survey. You can decline to answer this question. If you do provide an answer, the information will not be linked in the final research report to any of your other answers.

This survey uses Survey Monkey TM , which is a United States of America (USA) company. Consequently, USA authorities under the provisions of the Patriot Act may access the survey data. If you would rather participate with an email or paper-based survey please contact the researchers. Please note email or paper-based surveys may allow your identity to be known to the researcher/s but if you select this option your information will be kept confidential.

To further protect your information, once the data is collected it will be stored in a password protected file. Only Lindgren and Sabatini will have access to it and when they share it with each other that will be done using Ryerson’s Google Drive. Any future publications will include collective information (i.e., aggregate data). Your individual responses (i.e. raw data) will not be shared with anyone outside of the research team.

When the research is completed, the researcher/s will keep the data for up to 10 years after the study is over.
You will not be paid for taking part in this study.

A report on the survey results will be available on the National NewsMedia Council website as well as on researcher April Lindgren’s Local News Research Project website.

Participation in research is completely voluntary and you can withdraw your consent at any point prior to clicking the submit button at the end of the survey. This survey is anonymous so even if you do click on the submit at the end of the survey, the researchers will not be able to determine that the survey responses belong to you.

Please note, that by clicking submit at the end of this consent section you are providing your consent for participation. By consenting to participate you are not waiving any of your legal rights as a research participant.

If you have any questions about this research, please feel free to contact the researchers.

April Lindgren
Associate professor
Ryerson School of Journalism
416 979 5000 ext 6398

Cara Sabatini
Research and academic coordinator
National NewsMedia Council
1-844-877-1163 ext 3

If you have any questions about your rights or treatment as a research participant in this study, please contact the Ryerson University Research Ethics Board at (416) 979-5042.

Please print a copy of this page for your future reference.

* By selecting "I agree", you consent to participate in this survey.