Blog Update - Ethics Application

    I am a bit busy lately (to put it mildly) and haven't had time to write much for the blog, so I will do a quick updated and explain a few things going on with my honours thesis.

    Last week I resubmitted my ethics application, it came back from the panel with changes, which I knew would happen.  I made the requested changes and have sent it back, hopefully this time I get approval and can get started approaching companies.

    One notable change was they requested I remove statements regarding anonymity on the Participant Information Statement and Consent (PISC).  Their reasoning was fair enough, that I knew who the participants are and their name will be on the consent form so I cannot promise they will be anonymous.  Which is fair enough reasoning really.

    Having said that it will be the case anyway, my notes will not be recording personal details as it is inappropriate and irrelevant to the topic.  So I had no worries about that, at the end of the day I know for sure identity will not be made regardless of legal statements.

    After approval copy of my ethics application will be sent in full to companies participating in the study (at this stage InvoCare and Lady Anne).  The application has my aims, methodology, method, statements regarding how information will be kept safe and so on.  This will make it easier for companies to decide to what extent they would like to participate as they will have a written overview of my project and the legal/ethical aspects.

    Unfortunately I won't be putting the application on my blog, my mentor advised against it as she considers it my "intellectual property" and not something to share publicly.  Individuals will get a copy of the PISC which outlines the method and potential risks, but not much else.  I can explain it in more detail in person to those who might be interested, and certain parts will go up on the blog following approval.   But I won't be putting the whole application on the blog or any other public space.

    This whole process is a bit of a chicken and egg game; the method is being refined as I explore concepts.  Some concepts work out and others are dead ends which completely changes the type of questions I will ask, it even influences the interview style.  But at the same time my method also influences the concepts, how I will (or can) approach the topic means limits or adds different concepts to be explored.

    While I'm having a blast it's doing my head in, so I decided to just do a bit of everything equally rather than trying to completely focus on one.  Right now I am working mostly on my methodology, but still thinking about method and concepts here and there.

    Either way this makes it difficult to impossible to tell people the types of participants I am after or questions I will ask.  All I know for sure is the study will be limited to Sydney, I am keeping it very tight to start with.  Some have expressed interest from other states, but unfortunately I am sticking only to Sydney for now.

    If all goes well I should have approval soon, hopefully in the next few days so I can start talking with companies.

    Below are some possible details of my method, note these are subject to change over time!!  Full details will become available closer to the time, but I thought this might interest a few people.

Participant Recruitment Criteria (Funeral Industry):
- Direct experience within the funeral industry (as in hearse driver, conductor, embalmer, grave digger, cremation concierge, transfer crew, etc).
- Aged 18 to 70.
- About 20 to 30 total participants from the industry.

Interview Method (Funeral Industry):
- Combination of structured and unstructured interviews.
- Questions will be open ended and mostly opinion based.
- Notes will be taken, either recorded or written, no photos of videos will be used.

(If you want to see they styles of questions I ask I have a few surveys available here.  These surveys were good practice into my question methods)

Observation Method:
- Approximately two days at each available location; the location(s) and time are subject to the individual company.
- Participant observation; involves casual interaction with staff as they go about the day.
- Notes will be taken, either recorded or written, no photos of videos will be used.


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