Information for parents

Deciding to take part in research

Before you decide if you want your child to take part in one of our projects, it is important to understand why the research is being done and what it would involve for you. We will provide you with detailed information about the specific project and what your child will be doing if they take part. Please feel free to ask us if there is anything that is not clear, or if you would like more information. We are always available to answer any questions you may have.

Participation in our studies is voluntary and we will only include children if they are willing to take part. If you do decide your child can take part, you will be asked to sign a consent form. Your child does not have to take part in any studies if you do not want them to, and even if you and your child do agree to take part, you may change your mind and pull out at any time without having to give a reason. If, at any point during the research, your child indicates that s/he does not want to carry on with the activities, they will immediately be taken back to their classroom.

What happens during the research?

If you decide that you would be happy for your child to take part, we will visit them either at their nursery, school, or (in some cases) home to carry out some tests of language and literacy. These tests are like games and should be fun for your child. If we visit your child at school, we will arrange a time to see them with their teacher, to ensure that the sessions fit in with your child’s classes.

We will write down your child’s responses on record sheets and sometimes we will video record your child doing some of the tests so we can check their scores. If we audio or video record your child, we will ask for your permission to do so in advance, along with specific permission about how the videos may be used. All videos and information we collect will be kept annonymous and confidential, and won’t be seen by anyone outside of the research team. Only staff in the research team will watch your child’s video unless you specifically say that we can show it to other people and all records and video recordings will be labelled only with a number that we give to your child. We will not use their name. We may also ask you and your school to provide some information about your child (e.g. details about your child’s hearing and medical history, and their interest in reading).

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What happens when the research has finished?

When the research has finished, all information about your child will be kept confidential and stored safely at the University. We will tell teachers and other researchers about the results of our research and write reports to publish the results. Your child’s identity will remain anonymous at all times, and the findings will be presented in terms of groups of individuals and will not mention individual children. A summary report of the results will be provided to you and your child’s school/nursery.  Usually, we will also write up the results for publication in an academic journal, a copy of which will be sent to schools. An anonymised dataset will be placed on the Open Science Framework.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the research?

If you have any problems, concerns or questions about a study your child is involved in, you can speak to a member of the research team at any time. The researcher in charge of each study will provide you with their contact details before the research begins, however, you can also contact us with any queries here.