Page 1: Participant information

Thank you for your interest in our study on crowdfunding. Below is some more detailed information about the study, which consists of an online focus group discussion. In this initial survey, you will be asked to give consent if you wish to participate, provide some basic demographic information, and indicate your availability to take part in the focus group at a time that suits you over the coming weeks. Please note that this study is interested specifically in people who have funded or recieved funding from people they do not know personally. You will receive a £10 Amazon voucher upon completion of the focus group, as reimbursement for your time. 


Participant Information Sheet - Understanding trust judgments in online interactions

Invitation to take part in a research study

You are invited to participate in this research, which is being conducted by Dr Helen Jones, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Dundee. Before deciding to participate in the study, we ask that you take the time to read through this information sheet, which outlines the purpose of the research and what you will be asked to do. If you have any questions or require further information, please discuss this with the researcher (contactable at: who will be happy to answer your queries.

Purpose of the research

The research forms part of a larger project looking at how users establish trusting relationships with strangers online. Over the course of the project, we will look at four different scenarios in which users make trust judgments online: e-commerce, health forums, online dating, and managing ‘Internet of Things’ devices. In these initial focus group discussion sessions, we aim to outline key factors that contribute to trust behaviour in a particular online environment. These findings will then be further examined in future studies as part of the project, which will contribute to the development of an automated system for authenticating the online identity of other users who you are interacting with (

What will I be asked to do?

If you decide to take part in this research, you will be asked to complete a basic demographic questionnaire, and then to join an online group discussion about your experiences with crowdfunding, at a time that is convenient for you. The discussion will cover personal experiences of building trust relationships online, as well as thinking about the specific factors that may have encouraged or discouraged these. The study session will last around 45-60 minutes. This discussion will be recorded but only for the purpose of analysis.

Benefits of participation

In taking part in this research, you are contributing valuable data to a project which aims to protect users from security threats online. The group discussion will also provide you with the opportunity to interact with users who may have had similar experiences to you, which we hope will be interesting. 

Risks of participation

Every effort has been made to minimise the risk to participants through participation in this study. However, the nature of the topics being discussed means that there may be some strong emotions expressed during the study, from yourself or from other participants. You should only contribute to the discussion when you feel comfortable doing so, and should not feel pressurised to share information that is sensitive. If you feel that you wish to talk to a professional following the discussion, details of organisations to contact will be provided in the debrief information which you will receive at the end of the study.

Participants should also note that due to ethical obligations, the researchers are required to report information relating to a participant’s involvement in any illegal activity (e.g. use of illegal substances) to the Police, prior to anonymisation of the data. 

Right to withdraw

Before starting the study, you will be asked to complete a consent form, confirming that you wish to take part. If at any point you decide that you no longer wish to participate in the study, you are free to leave without giving a reason. Please note though that due to the nature of the group discussion, any data collected up to that point cannot be removed from the data analysis, but this will remain anonymous.

Data confidentiality and anonymity

All data collected during the study will be stored in password protected software, or in a locked filing cabinet, which will only be accessible to the research team. Following the focus group, any personal information from the conversation files will be anonymised. No identifiable information will be stored, so participants remain anonymous. The data from this research may be made available online through an open access database. In this case, all data will remain anonymous with no links to the personal identity of the participants.

Contact details

If you have any further questions or concerns following your participation, please contact the researcher:

Dr Helen Jones


Phone: 01382 388061


Or the Principal Investigator on the project:

Professor Wendy Moncur


Phone: 01382 386538


This study has been granted ethical approval by the University of Dundee School Research Ethics Committee (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design). If you have any ethical concerns relating to this study, please contact: