The following are instructions for our online focus group. Each focus group will last for 4 weeks. The outlined instructions here may be updated as we continue through the focus group.
You are either in one of three focus groups: all women, all men, or a mixed group of men and women.
This is a 4 week long asynchronous focus group. Asynchronous means we will not have meetings or designated times of day when we will need to be online. Questions can be answered and comments to others can be posted at any time within the allocated time frame. The original questions will be posted throughout the week where you have the day when the question is posted and the next day to respond. This will provide space for follow-up discussion questions.
Ground Rules: Let’s do our best to build a safe space here. Towards that, I request that each of you respect the privacy of your fellow participants and not share exchanges that occur here outside of this space. Additionally, please be respectful when responding to others. Differences of opinion are likely, but we should respond to each other respectfully.
Out of concern for our each of our mental well-being, I also ask that none of you share graphic details about experiences with sexual violence. Whenever a question uses the term “incident,” I am referring to an incident of sexual violence. Sexual violence here refers to forced (may not think of it as violent but you, as the person the act was enacted on, did not consent or revoked consent which the other person ignored) sexual intercourse as an adult and any coercive/forced sexual activity as a child before the age of 16.
Throughout the study, you will be asked to provide advice for designers and developers. Some questions provide examples to spark ideas but these examples in no way cover all possible topics.
Description of weekly topics:
Week 1 includes 3 starting questions. We will have follow-up discussion questions based on your responses to the original questions. Questions will open up on different days of the week where are asked to respond in the specified time frame. This will provide time to to engage in discussion with one another.
This week focuses on Sharing Experiences – this is a discussion of online or in-person experiences in seeking mental health information and whether social media and technology have had any influence on your mental well-being.
Week 2 includes 3 starting questions. We will have follow-up discussion questions based on your responses to the original questions.
This week’s focus is Racial Identity: These questions ask you to reflect back on your experiences disclosing (sharing your experience of violence with someone for the first time) to discuss whether it may have had a positive or negative impact on your mental wellbeing. You are also asked about your thoughts on the connection to Black stereotypes and whether you have a preference for an all-Black space. Please respond and interact as outlined in the consent form and instructions.
Week 3 includes 4 starting questions. We will have follow-up discussion questions based on your responses to the original questions.
This week’s focus is Gender, Sexuality, Religion, & Stereotypes: These questions ask you to reflect on the roles that your gender, sexuality, and/or spiritual beliefs have played in your response to violent experiences and their influence on your mental wellbeing. Then you are asked to share your thoughts on whether stereotypes that others have about Black people have influenced your information-seeking. There are examples of things you could address but they are provided to spark thought and are not required to be a part of your vision.
Week 4 includes 4 starting questions. We will have follow-up discussion questions based on your responses to the original questions.
The questions for this week are centered on Advice for Moving Forward. You are asked to reflect back on our discussion throughout the focus group and on your growth since the incident to share how your responses may be different and advice you have for others.
Title of Study: Sexual Violence, Black Survivors, & Moving Beyond Resilience: Developing Mental Health Support Spaces Based on Online Information Behavior
IRB Study # 20-1385Principal Investigator: Kristen Bowen; firstname.lastname@example.org CONCISE SUMMARY
We want to learn about Black adults’ experiences seeking out resources and information on mental well-being concerns after experiencing unwanted sex. Our goal is to understand what this group needs from information sources and obtain feedback about the design of these information sources.
Participants will consent to a 4-week focus group where the group will be asked to respond to specific topics each week in a closed forum on an online platform. You are eligible for this study if you identify as Black, African American, Afro-Latinx, or Afro-Caribbean, live in the United States, and have experienced unwanted sex. You are also between the ages of 18-39 and have had mental well-being concerns in connection to an unwanted sexual experience.
There are no significant risks associated with this study.
If you are interested in learning more about this study, please continue to read below.What are some general things you should know about research studies? You are being asked to take part in a research study. To join the study is voluntary and you can choose not to participate, or you may withdraw your consent to be in the study, for any reason, without penalty. Details about this study are discussed below. It is important that you understand this information so that you can make an informed choice about being in this research study. What is the purpose of this study? The purpose of this research study is to learn about Black adults’ experiences seeking out resources and information on mental well-being concerns after experiencing rape and/or sexual abuse. Our goal is to determine what this group needs from information sources. We also want to hear feedback about the design of these information sources. How many people will take part in this study? If you decide to be in this study, you will be one of approximately 21 people in this research study. What will happen if you take part in the study? Participants will first fill out an eligibility survey. If eligible, participants will then fill out a demographic survey and be sent a link to join their assigned focus group.
Your part in this study will last approximately 4 weeks. You will be asked to respond to questions on a specific topic and respond to each other if you feel comfortable. Questions can be answered and comments to others can be posted within the allocated time frame. The original questions will be posted throughout the week where you are encouraged to take the day when the question is posted and the next to respond. This will provide space for follow-up discussion questions. You may choose to respond or not respond at any point during the discussion. The focus group discussion will be downloaded so we can capture comments in a transcript for analysis. What are the possible benefits of being in this study? This research study is designed to benefit society by gaining new knowledge. You may not benefit personally from being in this research study. What are the possible risks or discomforts involved from being in this study? We anticipate few risks in this study. There is the risk of being reminded of a traumatic experience as you are being asked about your information experiences related to mental health and sexual abuse. There may be uncommon or previously unknown risks. You should report any problems to the researcher. How will your privacy be protected? All of the data you provide will be stored anonymously. This means that your data or the results of the study will not be linked to your identity. What if you want to stop before your part in the study is complete? You can withdraw from this study at any time, without penalty, or skip any question for any reason. The investigators also have the right to stop your participation if you have an unexpected reaction, have failed to follow instructions, etc.
If you withdraw or are withdrawn from this study, all data collected up until the point of withdrawal will be retained. However, no additional information will be collected unless you provide additional written permission for further data collection at the time of your withdrawal. Will you receive anything for being in this study? Will it cost anything? You will receive compensation of $135 for the completion of this 4-week study. Any payment provided for participation in this study may be subject to applicable tax withholding obligations.
Participants will receive total compensation once their focus group has ended. If a participant withdraws after completing at least 2 weeks of the study, they will receive a prorated compensation ($67.50)—the same for a participant who is withdrawn by the investigator. If a participant does not reach that mark, they do not receive compensation. For completion of 3 weeks, not making it to the 4th, then the participant will receive $101 in compensation.
There are no costs associated with being in the study. What if you have questions about this study? You have the right to ask and have answered any questions you may have about this research. Contact the principal investigator listed above with any questions, complaints, or concerns you may have. What if you have questions about your rights as a research participant? All research on human volunteers is reviewed by a committee that works to protect your rights and welfare. If you have questions or concerns, or if you would like to obtain information or offer input, please contact the Institutional Review Board at 919-966-3113 or by email to IRB_subjects@unc.edu. Do you consent to participation in this study? By clicking yes below, you are consenting to participate and will be taken to the eligibility survey.