Memory for poems and novels

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Researcher: Dr Clare Rathbone
Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Oxford Brookes University

Tel: 01865 483772
23rd April 2014

Memory for Poems and Novels

You are being invited to take part in a research study. Before you decide whether or not to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take the time to read the following information carefully.

What is the purpose of the study?
We would be grateful to you if you could assist us by participating in our study exploring memories for poems and novels. You will be asked to think about your most personally significant poem and novel, and then to rate them for details such as how thinking about each poem/novel makes you feel, and whether any memories from your life are associated with them. The purpose of this study is to understand how we remember poems and novels that are important to us.

Why have I been invited to participate?
You have been invited to take part as this study requires a group of 100 participants aged 18 and over.

Do I have to take part?
It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you decide to take part you are still free to withdraw at any time and without giving a reason. As this study is entirely questionnaire-based, completion of the questionnaire and pressing the submit button is taken as your consent to take part.

What will happen to me if I take part?
If you decide to take part, you will be asked to complete an online questionnaire. This will involve giving details of your most personally significant poem and novel, and rating them for details such as how they make you feel and how old you were when you encountered them. Finally, we will ask whether they are associated with any particular memories from your life. It is expected that the whole study will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. In terms of possible risks involved in taking part, it is possible that you may find recalling some personal memories to be upsetting. If you do become distressed you may wish to discontinue with the study, and you should feel free to exit the study at any time if you wish to do so.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?
Potential benefits of taking part are that you might enjoy the process of thinking about poems and novels that are meaningful to you, and remembering events from your life. In a broader sense, your participation will have benefits for the field of autobiographical memory research as, combined with other participants' results, your data will help researchers to understand more about how we remember things that are important to us.

Will what I say in this study be kept confidential?
All information collected will be treated in strictest confidence, subject to legal limitations. In accordance with Oxford Brookes University's policy of Academic Integrity, all data will be held in anonymous form (in either paper or electronic version) for 10 years following the completion of this study. The data may be presented at conferences and/or be published in journal or book form. However no reference will ever be made to individual data or to the individuals of which the data is comprised. The group results of the experiment and my interpretation and explanation of them will be available at a later date from me (Dr Clare Rathbone; contact details above).

What should I do if I want to take part?
If you want to take part, please complete the online questionnaire associated with this study and press submit.

What will happen to the results of the research study?
The results of this research study may be presented at conferences and/or be published in journal or book form. If you wish to receive a copy of any published articles that result from this research, please send me an email ( and I will send you a pdf copy of any articles that arise.

Who is organising and funding the research?
I am conducting the research as a member of staff at Oxford Brookes University. I work in the Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health, in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, who are funding this work.

Who has reviewed the study?
This research has been approved by the University Research Ethics Committee, Oxford Brookes University.

Contact for Further Information
If you require any further information, please feel free to contact me (Dr Clare Rathbone) using the contact details on the first page of this information sheet. In addition, if you have any concerns about the way in which the study has been conducted, please contact the Chair of the University Research Ethics Committee on

Thank you for taking the time to read this information sheet.

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