Be Informed

On this page is the information provided to participants before commencing a research project, it's often called the Participant Information Sheet and contains everything you need to know about the project before you consent to take part. If you have questions about any aspect I encourage you to contact me for clarification. The information below is available in downloadable format, along with the consent form which needs to be signed (and co-signed by a parent if you are under 18) before we commence. 

Project Title: The self, selfies and the performance of health in young people

Project Summary:

You are invited to participate in a research study being conducted by Linda Marsden, a PhD candidate within the Institute for Culture and Society, under the supervision of Professor Amanda Third. The research will consider if, and how, young people’s (aged 15 – 24 years) health is expressed, documented, performed or reflected upon in the practice of taking, editing, sharing and responding to selfies.

Please share this information sheet with your parents or another trusted adult and discuss your involvement in the project with them.

How is the study being paid for?

Western Sydney University is funding this project via candidate support funds.

What will I be asked to do?

You will be invited to complete a selection of activities in response to prompts provided by the researcher. The activities and prompts will be themed around health, identity, and social media. You will get to choose how you would like to respond to the prompts, your responses might include things like:

  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Mapping
  • Timelining
  • Digital storytelling (including photomontage, visual essay, video)

You may also choose to contribute via online platforms to group brainstorming activities, to which other participants in the research study may also contribute. This can be done anonymously if you wish. Online group activities will be themed around health, identity, social media, and ethical research practices.     

You will be invited to participate in up to two interviews with the lead researcher. These will be conducted online via zoom, skype, or facetime at a mutually convenient time. During the interviews, you will be invited to talk about the artefacts you created, including the images you used and your perceptions, thoughts and feelings pertaining to health, including yours and others.

How much of my time will I need to give?

In total, for you to participate fully in the study, you might contribute up to 6 hours over up to 6 months. This time will be broken up as follows:

  • Responding to prompts - 1- 2 hours;
  • Participation in follow up interview/s - 1- 2 hours; and
  • Additional contact with the researcher, e.g. to follow up or additional individual interview – up to 2 hours.

What benefits will I, and/or the broader community, receive for participating?

Through participating in the study, you may:

  • Enhance your understanding of health, including your own and others;
  • Enhance your digital and health literacy;
  • Have the opportunity for your voice to be heard by policymakers, educators, health professionals, community members;
  • Develop an appreciation of some aspects of conducting research, for example, ethical considerations, data collection procedures, and measures of research quality.

Participants who respond to research prompts and participate in two interviews will be gifted an entertainment voucher with a value of $20.

The broader community will benefit from your participation in this study through the contribution you will make to enhancing our understanding of young people’s use of social media as it relates to health.

Specifically, the outcomes of this study may inform policymakers, educators, health professionals, community members and parents.

Will the study involve any risk or discomfort? If so, what will be done to rectify it?

There are minimal risks associated with your participation in this research project. These are detailed below, including why we feel the risk is justified and how we will take steps to mitigate these risks. 

  • There may be potential for you to have some positive or negative feelings, desires or memories which may be triggered while responding to prompts or during the interview. The lead researcher will explain this possibility and what steps participants can take if they do experience any strong emotions. The researcher will be available after each discussion to debrief and ensure they are aware of their options for support for example,

 How do you intend to publish or disseminate the results?

The expected research output will include academic publications such as the doctoral thesis, journal publications, book chapters, and conference presentations. The items you create when responding to prompts are yours so you get to decide if you want to share and, if so, who with and how. You will be encouraged to think about how you might want to share the items you create, which might be things like drawings, photomontages, visual essays, mini-documentaries, and digital maps.

In all academic publications and presentations, data will be shared in a summarised form so you cannot be identified. In some of the research outputs, I might want to include quotes from interview transcripts or visual images supplied by you. Before I publish any data that belongs to you, I will seek your specific consent. This is a separate consent process and cannot occur until after the workshops and interviews have been held (see Consent to Disseminate).

Will the data and information I provide be disposed of?

Data will be stored, accessed, archived according to Western Sydney University’s Open Access to Research Policy and Research Data Management Policy. This archive is called ResearchDirect and contains data from many different research projects and some of it is made accessible to other researchers so they can do more or different research with that data rather than collecting it directly from participants again. This means that data you provide that can be deidentified, like interview transcripts, will be archived and made available for similar projects in the future.

Data that cannot be de-identified, like images or visual artefacts you share or create in the research process (i.e. photos, collages, maps, drawings etc.) are yours to keep. If you choose not to keep, we will destroy them at the conclusion of the research project.

Can I withdraw from the study?

Yes, you can withdraw from the study at any time, without giving a reason. Requests to withdraw can be made at any time via email to the lead researcher, Linda Marsden or via email to the project supervisor, Professor Amanda Third.

If you do withdraw, any contribution you’ve made to a group activity may not be able to be withdrawn. You can decide if you want other data to be withdrawn from the data pool, for example, images, or audio recordings of individual discussions. If a written request to withdraw data is not received, the research team will include all data shared up to the point of withdrawal.

As this research project is ongoing and requires repeated interactions with the lead researcher either in person, by phone, email or direct message a person will be deemed to have withdrawn from the project if repeated attempts to make contact via a variety of methods have been unsuccessful.

Can I tell other people about the study?

Yes, you can tell other people about the study by explaining you are participating in research conducted through Western Sydney University for the purpose of improving our understanding of how young people use social media as it relates to their health. If others are interested in participating in the research project, you can provide the Lead Researcher’s contact details or direct them to the project website.

What if I require further information?

Please contact Linda Marsden via email should you wish to discuss the research further before deciding whether or not to participate.

What if I have a complaint?

If you have any complaints or reservations about the ethical conduct of this research, you may contact Western Sydney University’s Ethics Committee by phone +61 2 4736 0229 or email

Any issues you raise will be treated in confidence and investigated fully, and you will be informed of the outcome.

If you agree to participate in this study, you will be asked to sign the Consent to Participate. This project information sheet is for you to keep and the consent form is retained by the researcher/s.


Consent to Participate
Project Summary