Information and Consent

Dr. Sharon Roberts
Department of Social Development Studies
Renison University College, University of Waterloo
(519) 884-4404 (Ext. 28676), serobert@uwaterloo.ca

Dr. Kathy Gerbasi
Department of Psychology,
Niagara County Community College
(716) 614-6762, kgerbasi@niagaracc.suny.edu

Dr. Elizabeth Fein
Department of Psychology
Duquesne University
(412) 396-4852, feine@duq.edu

Dr. Courtney “Nuka” Plante
Department of Psychology
Iowa State University
(515) 203-1681, c.nuka.plante@gmail.com
This study is part of a series of broader studies investigating special topics within the furry fandom. The following information is provided so you can decide whether you wish to participate. The topic of the study is therian/otherkin Identity. The purpose of this study is to help us better understand the lived experience of therianthropy/otherkinship.

There are five sections in the study. The first is basic demographic information, such as sex, age, gender identity, race, etc., Second, we ask questions about therian and otherkin identities and related experiences. In the third section we ask questions about bodily experiences, such as shape shifting and phantom limbs. In the fourth section, we ask participants to reflect on their many identities (e.g., gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, neurodiversity/neurodivergence, religion, etc.) and explore if these interact with therian/otherkin identities. The last section asks about potential relationships to nature and ecology and how they may or may not relate to being therian/otherkin. The amount of time the study takes to complete depends on how much information individuals write, how many questions are answered, speed of typing, etc.

Immediately following the informed consent, you will find 4 questions that ask for the first three letters of your mother’s name (or closest figure), your year of birth, three first letters of the name of your high school where you attended grade 9, and your first pet’s name. These answers create a survey code that is unique to you that we can use to identify you without needing any personally identifying information. Why? If you leave or close the window, there is no way for you to retrieve your answers or continue where you left off. These four questions permit us to link your answers together if you are disconnected during the study and/or in other studies we might conduct in the future. If you are disconnected, simply open a new survey (www.surveymonkey.com/r/fursciencetherian2017), fill out the identifier section (immediately following the informed consent) and hit the NEXT button until you arrive at the page where you were last connected and continue to answer the questions as you wish. The unique code also allows participants to leave the study (if needed) and return to answer more questions while permitting the researchers to link responses of the same individual. As is the case with all questions, participants are free to leave this part of the survey blank.

Your participation is completely voluntary. Members of the research team will keep the fact of your participation and the things you say confidential. If you agree to participate, you are encouraged to answer only those questions that you wish to answer, and you are free to withdraw at any time without penalty.
No one participating in this study will be identified by name (therian/otherkin name or real name) in any reports, papers, publications, or presentations of the data/information collected. If you agree to participate in this study, you agree that direct quotes from this study may be used for transcription (automatically completed when you type answers), analysis, publications, teaching, or research purposes. If any quotes are used in this way, your name and identifying details will not be included. No person should be able to identify you, unless they know you or your situation well enough to identify you from the brief quotations we include.

Only those associated with this study will have access to these records, which are secured by password protection. We will keep our study records for a minimum of five years. All records will be destroyed according to University of Waterloo policy.

You are free to withdraw from the study at any time. If you choose to withdraw, and do not want your answers to be used, please indicate that you withdraw your consent on the last page of the survey in the comment section, and we will destroy the electronic record immediately by deleting the case. If you decide, later, that you wish to withdraw consent, however, we cannot guarantee that will be able to destroy the full records if responses have been aggregated, coded, and/or published (given that no names or identifying information is collected during the study). We will do our best to locate the case and delete material, but it will be contingent on our ability to identify which records are yours based on information you provide.  

This survey is anonymous and confidential in that we do not ask for your name or any identifying information. However, if you have participated in one or more of these three studies at Anthrocon 2017 and choose to participate in this on-line study, it may be apparent to the researchers that your answers are a continuation of/or related to answers you provided at Anthrocon (for example, you may give answers so unique and different from everyone else’s but just exactly like one individual who participated at Anthrocon). Even if that is the case, your responses are still anonymous and confidential, though the researchers may choose to unite your online responses with what they believe to be your individual Anthrocon provided responses for research purposes.
While your participation may not specifically benefit you, we believe it will contribute to the understanding of therianthropy and otherkin identities, and possibly, the furry fandom more broadly. Your participation will also contribute to the scientific study of identity formation, anthropomorphism, anthrozoomorphism, and stigmatized minority groups. We also hope that this study will help therapists who have therian/otherkin clients to understand them better and work with them more effectively.

To thank you for your participation in the study, we will send you a small charm in the mail. You will find the link following the debriefing form at the end of the study. You will need to copy and paste the link into a browser, which will take you to a new window. Here, you can submit your mailing address. This method assures participants that their contact information will be kept separate from their answers. If you choose not to leave your address to receive a charm, please accept our thanks for your participation in our research. If you choose to not complete the whole survey, you can still submit your address to receive this small gift.  If you wish to stop answering the survey at any point, you can still receive your charm by progressing to the final page (hit NEXT button at bottom of each page) of the survey where you will find the link to leave your address.

In the future, findings from this research will be made available to the furry community at the International Anthropomorphic Research Project Website at: www.furryresearch.org. Our main outreach page is FurScience.com.

When information is transmitted over the internet privacy cannot be guaranteed. There is always a risk your responses may be intercepted by a third party (e.g., government agencies, hackers). University of Waterloo researchers will not collect or use internet protocol (IP) addresses or other information which could link your participation to your computer or electronic device without first informing you. By giving your consent to complete this study, you are not waiving your legal rights or releasing the investigators or involved institutions from their legal and professional obligations.

This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee (ORE #22246). If you have questions for the Committee contact the Chief Ethics Officer, Office of Research Ethics, at 1-519-888-4567 ext. 36005 or ore-ceo@uwaterloo.ca.

If you would like to contact one of the researchers directly with questions about this study, feel free to e-mail the researchers at the addresses above. Thank you for your interest in our research and for your assistance with this project. If you wish to continue your participation in this on-line Therian/Otherkin research project, please read the statement below.
Please remember, the final decision about participation is yours. 

Thank you for your interest in our research and for your assistance with this project. If you wish to continue your participation in this study:

* 1. Statement: I have read the above information about the study being conducted by Drs. Sharon E. Roberts, Kathleen Gerbasi, Elizabeth Fein and Courtney Plante. I am free to ask any questions related to this study at any time by contacting the investigators. I am aware that I may withdraw from the study at any time.

If you do not agree to participate, please close your browser and accept our thanks.

With full knowledge of all foregoing, I agree, of my own free will, to participate in this study.

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