Queer Spiritual Spaces
We're very pleased if you choose to contact us. We'd like you to consider the following:
You are being invited to take part in a research study. Before you decide it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. Do ask if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. Take time to decide whether or not you wish to take part. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
This project seeks to investigate Queer Spiritual Spaces in contemporary Britain and the United States. The project wants to look at:
We want to examine how queer spiritual spaces are made, understood and embodied. We are also interested in how they are located, textually, geographically and imaginatively.
It is important to this research that participants have a role beyond simply 'responding' to questions. To this end we are hoping that you will be involved in creating research that you are interested in and perhaps helps you.
You have been asked to take part because you are active within a faith group that we are particularly interested in knowing more about and you identify as or are in some way affiliated with alternative sexualities.
No! It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part you will be given this information sheet to keep and asked to sign a consent form. If you do decide to take part you are still free to withdraw at any time without giving a reason. A decision to withdraw at any time, or a decision not to take part, will not affect you in any way. The research team will not tell anyone that you have been involved or that you have withdrawn.
If you decide to take part you will be asked questions about your spiritual and sexual/gender identities and practices. If you are part of a focus group discussion, this discussion will be with other people and you will get the chance to share you experiences, practices and thoughts. There are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers and we are interested in what you think and do, as well as what you have experienced.
There are many ways that people can be involved. These include in-depth individual discussions with a research, group discussions with people who are part of your faith group and inter-faith group discussions. The project operates both through face-to face contact and online. This means you can get involved in the way that you wish to. The research assistant will explain to you what is going to happen in your specific discussion. It is hoped that what ever way you get involved you will be part of a two-way process so that you can feed into how the research works and suggest outcomes for the project. However, this is your choice.
It is possible that some of the topics discussed during the interview may bring up memories that are emotionally stressful. Please take care of yourself during the discussion and finish it if you want to. The research assistant can also move on to another topic if you do not want to talk about something. If you are part of a group discussion, please feel free to take a break whenever you wish/need to. The facilitators and researchers are not trained councillors but we will have lists of services and groups that may be able to help you. Please feel free NOT to talk about something that may be stressful to you.
We hope to use this research to create a lasting inter-faith resources, this will include a book, a website and other academic and popular publications. The information we get from this study may help us to understand more about what it is like for people who participate in queer spiritual/faith practices. We hope to understand more about the creative and exclusionary effects of discrimination upon religious participation and spiritual cultures. , about contemporary LGBTQI cultures, and about the ways people have found to be creative about expressing belief in the sacred.
Confidentiality is very important in this study. You will not be identified in any of the research publications (unless you want to be). We will use fake names for all the participants and some of the groups they are involved in. All the information will be anonymised and no video recordings will be used in the dissemination of the research (on the website or in any publications). After the project is complete, the data will be archived in a secure environment, and anything deemed sensitive will be destroyed.
Only the researchers will have access to your personal data, which will be kept password protected files and stored in a secure environments.
We ask that you respect each others confidentiality as well and do not discuss individuals outside the focus group. You may wish to talk about the issues we have covered but should you do so please do not reveal other people's names, experiences or personal details.
Online discussions will be recorded in the written text. Verbal discussions will be video/audio taped. Audio recordings will be written out verbatim and this is the data from these recordings. Video recordings will also be written out word for word, and may be analysed for visual queues and markers. If you would like a copy of your parts of the data, this can be provided, please let your research assistant know. The results of the research will be used for academic publications and also there may be media interest in the project. However, unless you have asked to be, you will not be identified personally in any report/publication.
This project has been approved by the Arts and Humanities Council (UK) and the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), and by the University of Sussex ethics committee.
If something goes wrong (which we sincerely hope it won't), there are procedures in place to make a complaint. In the first instance it is hoped you would talk to the research assistant and ask them to help resolve any issue. After this please contact the Principal Investigator., Professor Sally Munt. If this is not appropriate, another of the two senior co-investigators from other universities around the UK who are affiliated to the project would be asked to handle your complaint, keeping your concerns in strictest confidence. The University of Sussex and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), are funding this project, so in serious instances you can appeal directly to them.
Please feel free to get in touch with us via the Contact page.