WHAT IS THIS FORM?
This form is called a Consent Form. It will give you information about the study so you can make an informed decision about participation in this research. Please print out a copy of this page for your own records.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE?
Any person who is substantially responsible for and knowledgeable about food storage systems on a given farm may participate.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY?
This survey is designed to enable the researchers to characterize on-farm food storage infrastructure, design, practices, trends, and energy usage in the northeast. Information from the study will be used to develop a rapid energy assessment tool for food storage facilities.
WHERE WILL THE STUDY TAKE PLACE AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
The study will be conducted on-line. Participants may spend between 15 and 90 minutes answering survey questions depending on how many food storage facilities they operate.
WHAT WILL I BE ASKED TO DO?
If you agree to take part in this study, you will be asked to answer questions about your food storage infrastructure and practices. You may skip any question you feel uncomfortable answering or that does not apply to your operation. The survey is anonymous, but if you choose to share contact information, the researchers will contact you to ask for additional energy usage information (for example, from electricity bills). We will not share any identifiable information with any person not directly involved with conducting the study.
WHAT ARE MY BENEFITS OF BEING IN THIS STUDY?
This project should result in the development of a tool for remote energy audits of food storage facilities that can benefit any vegetable farmer or food storage operator. Participants who provide contact information will receive energy audit results which can help them make money-and-energy saving decisions. The results of the survey may also result in broad recommendations for best practices that will be available to any vegetable storage facility.
WHAT ARE MY RISKS OF BEING IN THIS STUDY?
We believe there are no known risks associated with this research study; however, a possible inconvenience may be the time it takes to complete the study.
HOW WILL MY PERSONAL INFORMATION BE PROTECTED?
The following procedures will be used to protect the confidentiality of your study records. All survey data will be stored in a password encrypted database file. Any paper correspondence will be stored in a locked file cabinet. The researchers will keep all study records, including any codes to your data in a password encrypted file in a secure computer owned by the University of Massachusetts. Research records will be labeled with a code. A master key that links names and codes will be maintained in a separate and secure location. The master key and audiotapes will be destroyed 6 years after the close of the study. All electronic files, including databases and spreadsheets containing identifiable information will be password protected. Any computer hosting such files will also have password protection to prevent access by unauthorized users. Only the members of the research staff will have access to the passwords. At the conclusion of this study, the researchers may publish their findings. Information will be presented in summary format and you will not be identified in any publications or presentations.
WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
Take as long as you like before you make a decision. We will be happy to answer any question you have about this study. If you have further questions about this project or if you have a research-related problem, you may contact the researcher, Ben Weil at (413) 545-1828. If you have any questions concerning your rights as a research subject, you may contact the University of Massachusetts Amherst Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) at (413) 545-3428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.