innovation Research & Training, Inc.
Address: 5316 Highgate Dr., Durham, NC 27713
Voice: 919 493-7700 Fax: 919 493-7720
Our names are Dr. Tracy Scull and Dr. Christina Malik, and we are researchers at innovation Research & Training (iRT). iRT is a for-profit behavioral health sciences company in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Scull is a developmental psychologist and Dr. Malik is a health communications researcher. We study media influence with the goal of preventing risk behaviors and promoting health in children and adolescents. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to an exciting opportunity for you and your students to participate in a research study.
This year, you could have the option to provide sexual health education to your 9th and/or 10th grade students by using a web-based sexual health and media literacy education program called Media Aware. Media Aware is an evidence-based comprehensive sexual health program for high-school students that meets numerous state and national educational standards. The program has previously been found to enhance students’ health outcomes and critical thinking skills. The program was designed and developed by us under a grant funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Evidence-based educational materials should be continually evaluated to assess how to enhance positive outcomes. This study is designed to discover more about how the youth outcomes that are improved by Media Aware persist over time.
If you decide to participate, you will review the program and teacher resources, help facilitate your students’ completion of the program and voluntary participation in the research study, and complete a questionnaire about your experiences.
You will follow your school district’s procedure for allowing parents to give permission for their child to opt-in or opt-out of sexual health education. Students in your classrooms who are allowed to receive sexual health education will be invited to participate in this research study by completing a few questionnaires. Student participation in the research study is voluntary and will require parent permission. Students in your classrooms who are not participating in the research study can still complete Media Aware as their sexual health education curriculum.
The data gathered from this study will be confidential and used only for the purposes of evaluating and improving Media Aware and providing insights into the relationship between media influence, education, and adolescent health.
If you have any questions that are not answered after reading the remainder of this letter, please contact us and we would be happy to answer them for you.
What is the purpose of this study?
This project is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This study is designed to discover more about how youth outcomes improved by Media Aware persist over time. Teachers and students will be asked to complete questionnaires as part of this research study. If you decide to participate, your students will also be asked if they want to participate. Even if you decide to participate, your students are free to choose to participate or not.
What will my participation and my students’ participation involve?
You will be asked to:
- Refrain from teaching other sexual health or media literacy education lessons for the duration of the study (approximately three/four months)
- Assist with distributing and collecting parent permission and student assent forms for the research study
- Review Media Aware and associated teacher resources
- Arrange for students to have access to computers with Wi-Fi connectivity while they complete Media Aware and study questionnaires
- Allow at least 4 class periods for your students to complete the web-based Media Aware program and some class time for them to complete the three study questionnaires
- Complete an online questionnaire about your experiences
As part of this research study, your students will be asked to complete three online questionnaires in class. The questionnaires will ask about their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about media and romantic relationships, and their sexual behavior, if any. Your students might also be asked questions regarding their opinions of the program. Even if they do not participate in the research study by completing the questionnaires, students in participating classes can receive the web-based program if they will be receiving sexual health education.
The first and second student questionnaires will be administered approximately 5 health education class periods apart. The third and final student questionnaire will occur approximately 3 months after the second questionnaire. Half the participating schools will use Media Aware after the first questionnaire and the other half will use Media Aware after the third questionnaire.
Will my and my students’ answers be kept private?
The information that you and your students provide will be kept confidential during the research study. All data will be kept at the iRT office which is locked at all times. Only employees have access to the building. The building has an alarm that is set when all employees are absent. Employees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement before being hired. Employees also complete training related to research practices including participant safety and data confidentiality.
You will receive a unique email link to the teacher questionnaire. Your name will not be entered in this questionnaire nor stored with the questionnaire data.
Your students will be assigned unique ID numbers to use on the online questionnaires instead of their names. Your students will receive ID numbers in an envelope that they will seal themselves. These envelopes and ID numbers will be stored in a locked filing cabinet at iRT. There will be an electronic list that links names and IDs that will be kept secure at the iRT office during the project.
Electronic data will be kept on a secure, password protected server at iRT. After the project is complete, we will destroy the list so that the data are rendered anonymous. Any paper data collected will be kept secure in locked file cabinets at the iRT office.
Your and your students’ data will be used anonymously to evaluate and improve Media Aware and provide insights into the relationship between media influence, education, and adolescent health. The data will not be sold to any outside party.
What happens if I or my students don't participate in the study?
Participation by you and your students is voluntary. If you decide not to participate, then none of your students would be invited to participate. If you do decide to participate, but some students choose not to participate or a student’s parent decides to not give permission for a student to participate, those individuals may not complete the questionnaires. If these students have permission to receive sexual health education, they will still have access to Media Aware. There will be no penalty to you, your students, or their parents, if they decide for a student to not participate in this study. In addition, your participating students have the right to decline to answer any question on the questionnaires or choose to withdraw from the study at any point without penalty or consequence.
As a teacher participant, you also have the right to decline to answer any question on your questionnaire or to choose to withdraw your entire classroom from the study at any point. If you withdraw early, you might not complete some of the components and you and your school would therefore not receive incentives, as described below, for those particular components. Also, please note that if you choose to leave the study, it may mean that all your students must also leave the study.
Are there any risks involved in being in the study?
There is a very small risk that someone might find out your or your students’ answers. In order to keep this from happening, we will give your students a unique ID number to use on the questionnaires in place of a name. There will be a list of the names and ID numbers, but only project staff members will have access to it and be able to see it. The data from the questionnaires will only be seen by project staff members. Once the study is completed, the list with names and ID numbers will be destroyed so no one will ever be able to match names with answers.
Some of the questions in the questionnaire about romantic relationships and sexual behavior on the questionnaires may make students uncomfortable or embarrassed. Your students will be told that they have the right not to answer any question they do not want to and to stop participating in the study at any time.
Will anything good happen as result of being in the study?
The feedback received from educators and students will contribute to the evaluation of a program that has the potential to be a benefit to many adolescents. We hope that students in the study will gain sexual health knowledge and media literacy skills.
Will I or my students receive anything for my participation in the study?
You will receive $30 for each classroom that returns 80% of their parent permission and youth assent forms regardless of whether they choose to participate or not (up to $150). You may also receive a total of $100 for your review of Media Aware and your completion of a web-based feedback questionnaire on your own time outside of school.
Will my students receive anything for their participation in the study?
Your students will receive small gifts (like earbuds, pens, sticky notes) for completing questionnaires at each time point. In addition, students who complete all three questionnaires will also be entered into a classroom drawing for a $50 gift card.
Who should I contact if I have any questions about the study?
The project is being done by Drs. Tracy Scull and Christina Malik of innovation, Research, & Training. If at any point during your participation in this project, you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Scull or Dr. Malik at (919) 493-7700, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant or how you were treated, you should contact Barbara Goldman, Ph.D., Chair of the iRT Institutional Review Board (IRB), at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-966-7169.
Tracy Scull, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
innovation Research &Training
Christina Malik, Ph.D.
innovation Research &Training