UNC Charlotte
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223-0001

The Experience of Visually Impaired Employees in the Virtual Workplace

Informed Consent Form

The overall goal of this research is to expand knowledge of the experience of employees in the virtual work environment (teleworkers). The virtual work environment being defined as the spaces, experiences, conditions, surroundings, and influences that employees experience while technologically connected via the Internet rather than physically to their organization, employers, and coworkers. Specifically, this study will investigate the experience of employees whom identify themselves as blind/visually impaired working in this virtual environment.


Shawn D. Long, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Colvard 5058
Charlotte, NC 28223

Amin Makkawy
M.A. Student
Colvard 5022
Charlotte, NC 28223

In order to take part in this project you: must consider yourself visually impaired and/or blind, must live in the United States of America, must have had a fulltime job for the last six months that is completed at least 75% of the time virtually , and must be at least 18 years old. You may not take part in this study if you are under 18 years of age or are unable to give informed consent.

Overall Description of Participation
This study consists of a thirty minute questionnaire that focusses on the experience of having a visual impairment and teleworking.

Risks of Participation
There are minimal risks associated with participating in this study. You will be able to choose whether or not you wish to respond to particular question(s), and you can leave the questionnaire at any time (by simply closing your web browser).

Benefits of Participation
This study will provide information that will be beneficial to furthering the understanding of the workplace experience in the virtual environment. After completing the questionnaire, you will have the opportunity to provide your e-mail address to be entered into a drawing for one of three $30 amazon.com gift cards. The e-mail addresses will be disconnected from the data provided in the questionnaire and will be stored in a separate file that will be password protected and encrypted separately from the data collected from the questionnaire

If you do not wish to take part in this questionnaire, you may simply decline to participate. There will be no penalty or punishment should you choose not to participate.

Volunteer Statement
You are a volunteer. The decision to take part in this study is completely up to you. If you decide to opt out of the study, you may stop at any time. You will not be treated any differently if you decide not to participate in the study or if you stop once you have started. Your employment status, position, or any other social and professional factors will not be affected by your participation in these sessions, or by what you say (or don’t say). Your supervisors, employers, and other coworkers will never be told about what you say in the questionnaire.

Confidentiality Statement
Data collected from the questionnaire will be stored in locked computers on the UNC Charlotte campus. During analysis and reporting, all names will be replaced with anonymous titles such as, "P1, P2, etc." All identifiers such as names, job titles, company names, virtual handles, and other proper nouns that could lead to participant identification will be redacted.

Our findings and information from this research may be published. If this is the case, your name will not be used and attempts will be made to eliminate any identifying information from the report.
Statement of Fair Treatment and Respect
UNC Charlotte wants to make sure that you are treated in a fair and respectful manner. Contact the university’s Research Compliance Office (704-687-1871) if you have questions about how you are treated as a study participant. If you have any questions about the actual project or study, please contact Amin Makkawy (e-mail amakkawy@uncc.edu, phone 402-304-9179) or Dr. Shawn Long (e-mail shawn.long@uncc.edu, phone 704-687-0783).

Approval Date
This form was approved for use on November 19th, 2013 for use for one year.
IRB protocol number: 13-11-10

Participant Consent
By clicking the next button, you are giving the following statement: I have read the information in this consent form. I have had the chance to ask questions about this study, and those questions have been answered to my satisfaction. I am at least 18 years of age, and I agree to participate in this research project.