Page 1: About this survey

Research into how arranging a funeral impacts finances and feelings

University of Dundee School Research Ethics Committee Application/Approval Number: UoD-SHSL-GEO-PG-2023-173

You are invited to take part in a research project about your experience of organising a funeral. Before you decide whether or not you would like to participate it is important that you read the information provided below. This will help you to understand why and how the research is being carried out and what participation will involve.

Who is conducting the research?

The research is being carried out by Ruth Bickerton (PhD student at the University of Dundee – as part of PhD research looking at ‘Inequalities of Bereavement and Funerals – Social, Spatial and Spend’.

Who is funding the research?

The PhD position has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

What is the purpose of the research?

The research aims to understand how organising a funeral might influence people's financial situation and feelings of happiness and well-being. Research shows that funerals can be a social and supportive event for family and friends, celebrating the deceased’s life. However, they can also place a financial obligation on the organiser.

This research seeks to explore:

- How people made decisions about funeral choices.

- Whether funeral choices impacted the price of the funeral.

- How people paid for funerals.

- Whether funeral choices and costs impacted the person's finances and feelings of happiness and well-being. 

- Whether any of this changes depending on where people live, what their income levels are and what their social situation is. 

Why have I been invited to take part?

You have been invited to take part because you have clicked on the link to participate in the survey. To take part, you should have been the organiser of a funeral of someone over the age of 18 (for example, for a relative or friend) in the last five years but not more recently than the last 6 months. You should be over the age of 18 and the funeral should have been in England, Scotland or Wales.

Do I have to take part?

Taking part is entirely voluntary and there is no obligation to be involved. You may decide to withdraw from the study at any time without explanation or penalty by closing the survey and not submitting the results. 

What will happen if I take part?

The next stage of the survey will take you through questions to be answered anonymously. It asks for personal details but none of these will be identifiable to you. The information will be stored anonymously. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes. 

At the end of the survey there will be an option to link to a second survey where you will be invited to leave your contact details. This is to volunteer for a personal interview to discuss your funeral-organising experience in more detail. You do not have to complete this second survey. You can just complete the first survey and stop then. 

Are there any risks in taking part?

There are no known risks for participants in the study, and responses are anonymous, although if you decide you would not like to continue in the survey at any time, please just close the survey and do not submit the results.  

If you would like to talk to someone about your bereavement, further support is available from The Samaritans (phone: 116123, free 24-hour helpline) and Cruse Bereavement Care (phone: 0808 8081677, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm). Information can also be found from the NHS website: Get help with grief after bereavement or loss - NHS ( and Widowed and Young (WAY) website: 

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

The research will investigate the impacts of arranging a funeral on people's finances, and happiness and well-being. The research will investigate if this is different depending on people's locations and financial and social situations. Based on this survey and other research, the project will go on to make recommendations for government policy to improve people's experiences of organising and paying for a funeral. The research will also help to inform the work of organisations supporting people experiencing bereavement. 

Will my taking part in this project be kept confidential?

Personal information collected during this first survey will be anonymous. The research team alone will have access to the information. Any write-up of the information will be entirely anonymous.

If you choose to leave your personal details using the link to the second survey, this information will be separate to the responses to the first survey and your responses will not be identifiable in any way. A link to the second survey is included at the end of this suvey.

What will happen to the information I provide?

The responses to the survey will be collected and stored securely in JISC (the University of Dundee’s survey company). The data will also be exported to data analysis computing packages and stored on the University OneDrive in a password-protected system. This will be stored for 6 years.

Data Protection

The personal data that will be collected and processed in this study include your gender, age, 4 digits of your postcode, ethnicity, marital status, employment status, income, and whether you identify with a religion or not.

There is no special category (sensitive personal) data that will be collected and processed in this study.

The University asserts that it lawful for it to process your personal data in this project as the processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.

The University asserts that is lawful for it to process special categories of your personal data in this project as the processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 89(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation.

The University of Dundee is the data controller for the personal and/or special categories of personal data processed in this project.

The University respects your rights and preferences in relation to your data and if you wish to update, access, erase, or limit the use of your information, please let Ruth Bickerton know by emailing Please note that some of your rights may be limited where personal data is processed for research, but we are happy to discuss that with you. If you wish to complain about the use of your information please contact the University’s Data Protection Officer in the first instance (email: You may also wish to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (

You can find more information about the ways that personal data is used at the University at:

Is there someone else I can complain to?

If you wish to complain about the way the research has been conducted please contact the Convener of the University Research Ethics Committee (

Alternative formats

If required, this information can be made available in alternative formats. Please let us know if this is required and we will organise this for you.