A Proposal to Investigate Polish Immigrants' Experiences of Public Libraries in Edmonton

Ethics Review

In accordance with Article 2.1 (a) of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS), and section 66.4.2 of the University of Alberta Standards for the Protection of Human Research Participants (UA Standards), ethics approval will be needed from the Faculty of Education, Extension, Augustana, and Faculté Saint-Jean Research Ethics Board (EEASJ REB) because the research in this project involves living human participants (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 15; University of Alberta). There are several ethical issues in this study. Participants are required to provide their voluntary and informed consent to participate in the study, in accordance with Article 3.1 of the TCPS, and section 66.9.1 of the UA Standards (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 28; University of Alberta). The researcher will provide all potential participants with an informed consent form, which will contain the information that these individuals need to inform themselves before agreeing or disagreeing to take part in the study. This process will fulfill the requirements of Article 3.2 of the TCPS, and section 66.9.4 of the UA Standards (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 30; University of Alberta). In accordance with Article 3.12 of the TCPS, and section 66.9.2 of the UA Standards, the participants will sign the informed consent form, so that their consent is documented in writing (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 44; University of Alberta). In cases where participants are unable to sign the consent form, such as when participants are visually impaired, the researcher will request oral consent after reading the informed consent form. She will record oral consent both on a digital audio recorder, and on the informed consent form for these participants. These documentation procedures will fulfill the requirements of Article 3.12 of the TCPS, and section 66.9.2 of the UA Standards (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 44; University of Alberta). Obtaining oral consent and its recording in audio format are techniques for obtaining consent that are mentioned in the Application of Article 3.12 and the Application of Article 10.2 of the TCPS (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 45, 140). The researcher structured the consent form according to the EEASJ Information & Consent Letter template (University of Alberta). The project will require participants' consent to enter their homes and record the interviews. Both aspects are included in the bilingual informed consent forms in Appendices G and H. These two aspects concern not only the ethical requirement for informed consent, but also the requirements for privacy and confidentiality.

Providing privacy and confidentiality, as well as anonymity, for participants are ethical requirements that are treated in section 66.10 of the UA Standards (University of Alberta). Privacy and confidentiality are also treated in Articles 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 of the TCPS (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 58, 59, 60). Moreover, Article 5.3 discusses the need to ensure that a study's information be kept secure throughout its life cycle (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 60). This project will address these requirements in various ways. The audio recordings will be transferred as the main copy from the audio recorder to encrypted files on a password-protected computer, to which only the researcher has access. The audio recorder will be stored in a locked drawer. Only the researcher will transcribe interviews. She will be the only individual with access to transcripts. Files will be deleted from the audio recorder after a main and a backup copy have been made. The backup copies will be stored on CD-Rs, which will be kept in a locked drawer. Printed transcripts will be kept in a locked drawer. Computer files of transcripts will be encrypted. All materials will be stored in the researcher's home office, to which only she has access, and all locked drawers will store only one type of item. Only the researcher has keys to locked drawers. Pseudonyms will be used for transcripts and the final report to ensure anonymity. The master list matching pseudonyms with real identities will be stored in a locked drawer. De-identification of identifiable information, storage of information in locked locations, the use of password-protected computers, and file encryption are security techniques suggested in the TCPS (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 56, 57). Confidentiality will be negotiated with every participant. At the end of each interview, the researcher will ask participants whether there is any information that they would like not to be included in the study. She will remind them that they can contact her until December 28, 2010 to remove any data from the study. This procedure will meet the requirements of allowing the possibility of withdrawal of data stated in Article 3.1 of the TCPS and section 66.9.3 of the UA Standards, and of maintaining ongoing informed consent stated in Article 3.3 of the TCPS and section 66.9.1 of the UA Standards (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 28, 33; University of Alberta). The establishment of the date after which data cannot be removed supports the setting out of such parameters referenced in the Application of Article 3.1 (c) in the TCPS (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2010, 30). If participants do not indicate their wishes for removing, or not including, any data by the aforementioned date, the researcher will be able to include it in the study. Transcripts and recordings will be kept in the previously mentioned secure locations for five years according to GFC Policy 92.2 (see Appendix A section 6.4 subsection 3.0), after which the transcripts will be shredded and the recordings will be deleted from the computer and CD-Rs. Additionally, the ethical requirement for maintaining privacy will be extended toward the owners of Polish venues, in which the researcher wishes to advertise the study, since these locations are private property. Consequently, the researcher will seek permission to advertise from venue owners.

Please see Appendix A for the HERO New Study Human Ethics Application Form, Appendices B and C for bilingual recruitment advertisements, Appendices D and E for the bilingual snowball sampling forms, Appendix F for permission to advertise in Polish venues, Appendices G and H for the bilingual informed consent forms, and Appendices I and J for the sample bilingual interview questions.