Participant Information Sheet

Optimising the blend of in-person and online university mathematics and statistics learning support

1. Introduction

You are invited to take part in this research project, which is called Optimising the blend of in-person and online university mathematics and statistics learning support. You have been invited to participate because you are a Western Sydney University student who has used a learning support service offered by the Mathematics Education Support Hub (MESH) in the period from the middle of 2018 to the middle of 2021. The participant information sheet tells you about the research project. It explains the process involved with taking part. Knowing what is involved will help you decide if you want to take part in the research.

Please read this information carefully. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand or want to know more about. Participation in this research is voluntary. If you do not wish to take part, you don’t have to.

If you decide you want to take part in the research project, you will be asked to give your consent to have your responses to an anonymous survey used in the project’s research. By doing so you are telling us that you:

  • Understand what you have read
  • Consent to take part in the research project
  • Consent to be involved in the research described
  • Consent to the use of your survey responses as described

2. What is the purpose of this research?

The aim of this study is investigate issues affecting the support of university mathematics and statistics in face-to-face and online environments.

3. What does participation in this research involve?

If you agree to participate in this study, you will be asked to complete a short online survey about your experience of the MESH support you have received and preferences for future support. Your anonymous responses will be stored in a text file on the lead researcher’s University computer.

4. Do I have to take part in this research project?

Participation in this study is entirely voluntary. You are not obligated to be involved and if you do participate, you can withdraw at any time without giving any reason and without consequences.

5. What are the possible benefits of taking part?

We cannot guarantee or promise that you will receive any benefits from this research; however, possible benefits may include sharing your thoughts and ideas about learning support in mathematics and statistics and positively influencing how this support is delivered in the future.

6. What are the possible risks and disadvantages of taking part?

The risks of participating in this study are limited to discomfort about sharing information related to your experience of using MESH that may occur during or after you have completed the survey. Any such discomfit might be eased by the fact that the survey responses we collect will be completely anonymous and hence not traceable to any individual respondent.

Participation in this study will not cost you anything, nor will you be paid.

7. What happens when the research project ends?

We plan to publish the results in peer-reviewed journals and present the results at conferences. You will not be identifiable in any publication or presentation. Results of the study will be provided to you, if you wish.

8. What will happen to information about me?

All the information obtained for the purpose of this research project will be treated as confidential and securely stored. It will be disclosed only as required by law. All the data collected will be non-identifiable, that is the data will be collected and recorded in a way that means the researchers will not be able to identify the information provided by any one person. This information will be stored securely in a password-protected university computer belonging to the project team leader at Western Sydney University. The data will be stored for five years after the completion of the study. The information will only be used for the purposes of this study.

The study results may be presented at a conference or publications, but individual participants will not be identifiable in such a presentation.

9. Further information and who to contact

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact the project team lead, Dr Jim Pettigrew, by email: j.pettigrew@westernsydney.edu.au.

10. Complaints contact person

If you have any complaints or reservations about the ethical conduct of this research, you may contact the Ethics Committee through Research Engagement, Development and Innovation (REDI) on Tel +61 2 4736 0229 or email humanethics@westernsydney.edu.au. Please also contact START on START@westernsydney.edu.au should you have any complaints or reservations about the ethical conduct of this study. Any issues you raise will be treated in confidence and investigated fully, and you will be informed of the outcome. This study has been approved by the Western Sydney University Human Research Ethics Committee. The Approval number is H13567.