Research conditions and statement of privacy

Research conditions
The conditions by which you qualify to take part in this research are as such:
a) You must be over eighteen years of age.
b) You blog about work in a significant manner, i.e. follow this link for a definition of a work-related blog.
If you feel that you fulfil criteria then please read my privacy statement (below). You may also wish to read my research intentions if you have not already.

Statement of privacy
I make this statement for two purposes - one, in my research capacity as an employee of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, I am committed to protecting your privacy; and two, I am fully aware of the sensitive nature of work-related blogs and would not wish in anyway to jeopardise the employment tenure of any blogger who takes part in my research. This statement is made in order to protect those who have been approached and asked to participate in my research on work-related blogs. If you have any particular, private or formal queries about my research then write to or telephone to me on:

Heriot-Watt University
Management Building
EH14 4AS
Telephone: 44 (0) 131 451 3043

Hopefully all your concerns about taking part in my research programme will be answered in the 'FAQ' format below. However, if you should require further assurance or clarification on any matter then do not hesitate to contact me through the above details.

How did I find you?
It is highly likely that I have found your blog by searching the Internet for blogs that contain a work-related theme. Most of the blogs I have on my blogroll have been found through blog directories, blog rings and through visiting blogs that have links to work-related blogs on them. An absolute minority have been found through the printed press (or, on-line version), i.e. articles or features about work-related blogging.

How will I collect information from you?
Initially I will collect information through an on-line questionnaire. Follow-up interviews will take the form of telephone, email or Internet messenger conversations, providing you state in question 10 that you are willing to take part in further research activities. No date has been set for follow up interviews as of June 2005 and are unlikely to occur this year.

What information am I collecting?
The vast majority of information that I wish to collect relates to people who blog about their work in some significant way. The way I ask the questions assumes that little if anything is known about blogging habits, hence you may view the questions as broad-ranging, simplistic, repetitive, or perhaps personal. There are, however, opportunities in the way that the questionnaire is designed to gain information about your relationship with other bloggers. This information is only to get an idea of the extent to which one could say there is a blogging community that centres on one or a number of related issues. The last question also asks for personal details such as the name of your blog and/or an email address if you wish to participate in further research activities. If you accept the offer I will keep a record of this, but it will NOT be made available to any other person or party. Moreover, there is NO obligation to take part in further research activities even if you have stated that you are willing to do so.

I am also collecting the names of all the work-related blogs that I can find. They appear on my blogroll in two sections: UK and non-UK, and in alphabetical order. This serves a number of purposes. First of all, I have assembled the blogs in such an order so that I can access them freely and easily for my own purposes outlined in my research intentions. And second, my blogroll acts as a general resource for anyone who is interested in work-related blogs. As far as I am aware there is no other resource as expansive as mine available on work-related blogs. You, of course, may demand at anytime that I remove your blog from my blogroll, for whatever reason.

How will I use this information?
Essentially this is a pilot study to 'fish around' for themes on work-related blogs. At this stage of affairs I intend to use it for securing funding for a larger research project and to publish whatever I find from the piloted aspect in academic journals or high quality publications - details of any publications will be noted on my won blog. In neither of these options will your identity be published, i.e. even statements made in questionnaires will be subjected to anonymisation procedures through the omission of names, places, etc. What is more, I will not publish statements by yourself or excerpts from your blog unless I have your express permission, which you may withdraw at anytime during the proceedings. I may also publish excerpts from my writings on my own blog in the same fashion as noted above.

How will I protect the information?
All files, whether paper or electronic, are kept securely on the server or in my office at my institution. No one other myself has access to these files. You, of course, can request that your contribution be erased from the data set at anytime.

Right of access
You have a right to request a copy of all the information I have on you, i.e. a copy of the questionnaire answers and/or interview transcripts you provided. However, if wish to do this then contact me through the formal channels outlined at the beginning of this guide.

Thank you for reading this statement and I thank you in advance if you go on to take part in my research exercise.

James Richards

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