Research Project Title: Intimate Media Spaces: How People Use Always-On Audio/Video Tools to Maintain Intimacy
Ethics Application Number: 2010s0661

Carman Neustaedter, SIAT, Simon Fraser University

Saul Greenberg, Computer Science, University of Calgary

The Simon Fraser University Research Ethics Board has approved this research study.

This consent form, a copy of which is made available to you, is part of the process of informed consent. It should give you the basic idea of what the research is about and what your participation will involve. If you would like more detail about something mentioned here, or information not included here, you should feel free to ask the investigator(s). Please take the time to read this carefully and to understand the information.

The purpose of this research is to understand how distance-separated couples use video communication systems such as those found in Skype, Microsoft Messenger, or other systems, to maintain their intimate relationship. This includes understanding when and how couples engage in video communication together and what activities they participate in while video conferencing. We will use this knowledge to better design video conferencing and communication technologies to meet the needs of distance-separated couples.

Participant Recruitment and Selection:
To be recruited for this study, you should be comfortable describing intimate details regarding your relationship with your partner and the (possibly intimate) activities you do online with your partner.

What Will I Be Asked To Do?
Through a survey, and interview, we will ask you questions such as: your personal situation with your partner; where, when and how often you see each other physically vs. via video conferencing, what activities you engage in while using video conferencing with your partner (this will include intimate questions), how video technology helps and hinders these activities, and other methods that you use to communicate with your partner.

Optional. We will also ask you to participate in a diary study. If you agree, you will keep a diary with you, where you will record and summarize your use, activities and thoughts you may have as you use your video system with your partner over a period of a month. After the study is complete, the researchers will keep the diary.

I am willing to be involved in the diary study:
Yes: No:

Your Participation
Participation is voluntary. If you agree to participate, you will be free to withdraw at any time for any reason. However, data collected up to that withdrawal point may still be retained and used by the researchers.

What Type of Personal Information Will Be Collected?
Your anonymity will be strictly maintained. The only personally identifying information collected will be your name, which will be used for administration of payment. Any data collected will be labeled with an anonymous participant ID. Because we will audio-record your interview, this recording will be electronically manipulated afterwards to mask the speaker’s voice, and/or transcribed after which the recording will be erased. If you participate in the diary study, your diary will also be kept confidential; we will also ask you to use pseudonyms rather than real names of you and your partner.

To ensure that you understand the above, please put a check mark on the corresponding line(s) to grant me your permission as follows:

I grant permission to be audio taped:
Yes: No:

I understand that I will remain anonymous, but that you will referring to me (if at all) by a pseudonym:
Yes: No:

Are There Risks or Benefits if I Participate?
The risks of participation are intended to be none or minimal. However, because we will be asking you personal questions, there is risk of feelings of emotional discomfort such as embarrassment, and/or concerns about privacy. To mitigate this, you can choose what information you are comfortable revealing. As mentioned, we will scrupulously anonymize all data to mask your identity. If participating in face-to-face interviews or interviews over communication tools (e.g., email, Skype), your identity will be known by the investigators and thus we cannot guarantee confidentiality in this regard. Communication tools such as Skype attempt to ensure data security through encryption technologies. While beneficial, there are still possibilities of risk associated with using such a medium (e.g., hackers acquiring data).

You will be paid $30 for your participation in the interview. Should you decide to withdraw before completion, the payment will be reduced by pro-rating it to the time actually spent.

If you participate in the diary study, you will be paid another $20 upon handing in your diary, although this amount will be pro-rated if there are less than 20 detailed entries in the diary.

Research results, such as published papers, can be obtained by contacting either of the investigators:
Carman Neustaedter, 778-782-9034,
Saul Greenberg, 403-220-6087,

What Happens to the Information I Provide?
No one except the researchers and their assistants will be allowed to see or hear any of the answers to the questionnaire or the interview tape. No names are recorded on the questionnaire or diary. Only group information will be summarized for any presentation or publication of results. The questionnaires and diary are kept in a locked cabinet only accessible by the researcher and her supervisor. The anonymous data will be stored for three years on a computer disk, at which time, it will be permanently erased.

All data collected as part of the study will be kept on a secure server computer in Canada.

We expect to publish reports and presentations describing this research. Public presentations of the results will primarily present the results in an aggregate form or as caricatures that are composites of one or more participants. Where individual participant data is disclosed, such as exemplar interview comments or diary entries via quotes, we will ensure that the selected data does not suggest participant identities.

To ensure that you understand the above, please put a check mark on the line below to grant me your permission as follows:

You may use selected quotes from my filled-in questionnaire, interview and (optional) diary when disseminating results, for example, in publications and presentations
Yes: No:

Acceptance of this Form:
Your signature on this form indicates that you 1) understand to your satisfaction the information provided to you about your participation in this research project, and 2) agree to participate as a research subject. In no way does this waive your legal rights nor release the investigators, sponsors, or involved institutions from their legal and professional responsibilities. You are free to withdraw from this research project at any time. You should feel free to ask for clarification or new information throughout your participation.

To accept this form, please check the box below, and type your name and today's date in the following boxes as a form of digital signature.

By checking this box, I am consenting to participate in the research



If you have any concerns about the way you've been treated as a participant or concerns with the research project, please contact Dr. Hal Weinberg, Director, Office of Research at: or 778-782-6593.