Investigations of developing reading skills require the participation of students who are learning to read, and our research could not survive without the cooperation and assistance of the parents, teachers, principals, and children in the Kingston region. If you are deciding whether or not to consent for your child to participate in one of our research projects, or if you are a teacher or principal making the decision to welcome researchers into your classroom or school, we hope that the information below will help. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to email us !
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have to have permission to conduct research in schools? From whom?
Yes. In order to conduct our research projects, they must have been cleared by the General Research Ethics Board (GREB) of Queen’s University. We also ask permission of the school boards and of the individual school principals before beginning any school-based research project. Last, it is imperative that we receive consent from a student’s parent or guardian in order for him or her to participate in any research project.
Who will be working with the students?
Trained research assistants who have experience working with children of different ages and who hold a current criminal check from the police department will work one on one with the children who are participating in the study. They will work in a quiet, but public, space at the school where they can be observed by passers-by.
When will the sessions occur?
Research assistants will arrange the study’s schedule around classroom activities and student availability. They will work closely with teachers to minimize interruptions.
How long does it take?
It is our goal to be as minimally disruptive as possible when conducting research in schools. We realize that schools are busy places with lots of activity and little space to spare, and so we always strive to be in and out of a school as efficiently as possible. However, we must balance this efficiency with a minimum of disruption for individual students. For instance, students must often see a Research Assistant more than once in order to complete all tasks, but we will not take them away from regular classes more than once per day, and each session will last no more than 30 minutes.
Depending on the number of students participating and on the number of Research Assistants who can work concurrently in the school, we can normally complete testing in 2-4 weeks.
What happens in a session? What will my child be doing?
Individuals taking part in the project will be asked to participate in a number of language- and literacy-related activities, including activities that measure oral language proficiency, spelling, and reading accuracy and fluency. The tasks will usually require your child to respond by speaking or pointing, or in some cases, pressing a computer key in response to an item presented over headphones or printed on the computer screen. Most young people find these activities enjoyable.
In some cases, the responses provided will be digitally recorded so that they can be scored at a later time. In these cases, your child’s responses will be identified on the recording by numeric code only, and once the responses have been scored, the files will be deleted.
Will my child be able to be identified through participation in this project?
No. It is important to us to protect the privacy of the people who participate in any of our research projects. Here is how we will protect your child’s privacy:
- No participant names will be used in the data or published work.
- The paper data will be locked indefinitely in an office at Queen’s University, and the computer data files will be deleted after scoring.
- Only the researchers and their trained students and assistants will have access to the data.
- The data will only be used for research purposes.
- The data will not be used to evaluate your child in any way.
- If the data are made available to other researchers for secondary analysis, your child’s identity will never be disclosed.
In addition, teachers will not be given access to the data, nor will the data appear in any, or have any effect on, school records.
What if my child decides that he or she does not want to participate?
Your child’s participation is voluntary – he or she is free to withdraw from the study at any time, with no effect on his or her standing in school. If your child withdraws, you may request the removal of all or part of his or her data. Verbal assent to participate will be established before each session begins.
Are there any risks to participating in this research?
There are no known risks, discomforts or inconveniences associated with participation in the research study. Your child will not be obliged to answer any questions that he or she finds objectionable or which make him or her feel uncomfortable.
How will we know what you discover through your research?
The findings of the research will be published in academic and educational research journals and presented at professional conferences. A summary of the final report will be made available to you, upon request, and to your child’s school.
If you have a question about the research that was not answered here, please email us.