This post is in the Ethics category

The nature of the research, involving as it does both autoethnography and issues of disability, required careful consideration in the matter of informed consent. On the advice of the University Ethics committee, a scaffolded process was employed involving verbal discussion around the sensitive issues followed by a formal document for active participants.

The issue of deceit in data collection for the surveys ended up being a moot point as the large scale data collection was abandoned and all participants were made fully aware of the true nature of the research.  The documents submitted to the committee are linked to this post.

In the case of all the active participants, an Informed Consent document was developed and approved by the Ethics Committee and appears below.  It details several possible activities that the participant may be involved in, including the Cambridge Personality Indices, video taped creative collaborations, interviews and self-observation reports.  Risks and the steps taken to minimise them are outlined and details given regarding the general conduct of the research.  Where participants were only involved in some of these activities, those not relevant were struck out prior to presentation. For example some participants in recording sessions were only videotaped in the session, but not required to do the CPI tests or self-report.

Points of collaboration, Points of agreement: Investigating the creative process within musical contexts.

Ethics Clearance QCM/18/06HREC


Senior Investigator: Prof. Huib Schippers
School: Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University
Contact Phone: xxx
Contact Email: xxx
Student Investigator: Colin Webber
School: Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University
Contact Phone: xxxxx
Contact Email: xxxx

What is this research about and who is conducting it?

Colin Webber is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and Lecturer in Audio and Sound Production at JMC Academy,  and is conducting this research under the supervision of Prof Huib Schippers. He is examining how musicians communicate and make decisions in collaborative situations such as rehearsals, recording studios, and inter-disciplinary situations such as film or theatre composition.  The outcomes are expected to improve our understanding of the creative processes in collaborations and the ways in which we can prepare and train to improve the creative outcomes of these situations.

What you will be asked to do

There are three aspects to your participation in this research.

  1. You will be asked to fill out three questionnaires as developed by researchers at Cambridge University to identify aspects of communication style, empathy and innate thinking styles.  These questionnaires will be delivered via printed questionnaires and brief analysis will be available to you.
  2. You will be videotaped during your collaborative work to allow transcription and analysis of verbal and non-verbal communications and behaviours occurring.
  3. You will be asked to make written notes during or as soon as possible after the collaboration and you may be interviewed about the processes.

The basis by which participants will be selected or screened

Participants are being selected by their involvement in collaborative activities and may include students, staff and professionals from music and related industries.   You may have been approached by the researcher or a third party on behalf of the researcher and you are entirely free to choose to participate or not.

The expected benefits of the research

The research is expected to shed new light on the manner in which communication within and surrounding creative activity occurs in verbal and non-verbal exchanges. The research is expected to have benefits to music making and music teaching and learning activities, and to contribute to a better understanding of the psychology of communication in creative contexts.

Risks to you

Possible risks in this research take two forms, psychological or emotional stress and identification/confidentiality.

It is possible that the questionnaires may indicate preferences or aspects of personality that you were unaware of and may be the cause of concern to you.  If this is the case, you will be referred to an appropriate support organisation for further information.

Systematic self-observation is considered to involve risk as the participant is exposed to their own behaviours that they may not have been aware of. The method has been used to examine behavioural aspects with a negative connotation such as lying or self comparisons.  However in this instance the observations are concerning positive behaviours (agreements) and the risks are considered minimal.

Your privacy and confidentiality

The conduct of this research involves the collection, access and / or use of your identified personal information. The information collected is confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties without your consent, except to meet government, legal or other regulatory authority requirements. A de-identified copy of this data may be used for other research purposes. However, your anonymity will at all times be safeguarded. For further information consult the University’s Privacy Plan at or telephone xxx

Your identity will be protected and anonymous in the research reporting. The video recordings will be used for research analysis purposes and will be erased at the conclusion of the transcription process. Further specific consent may be sought from you for the use of extracts from recordings in the presentation of the research, however, there will be no other use of these recordings without your specific consent. You can instruct us to remove your details from the database at any time and this will be done. If you have any concerns about your privacy please email Prof. Huib Schippers

Your participation is voluntary

Your participation is invited for the sole purpose of the stated research and is entirely voluntary.  Your choice to participate will have no influence on other interactions you may have with the research team and where a perceived unequal relationship exists (eg you are a student of the researcher), you will be invited by a neutral person.

You may withdraw your consent at any time and your information will be removed from the database and not contribute to the results.

Mechanism for distribution and return

Logging forms for collection of self observation data will be distributed by the researcher prior to the sessions beginning and collected at the end.  Additional means of return will be made available at no cost to the participant.

Feedback to you

The research findings will be made available in electronic form to all participants at the point of completion and your contact details have been requested to facilitate this.  Raw data from this recordings or self-observation will not be made available to participants as doing so may compromise the privacy of other participants.

Questions / further information

If you have questions or concerns about the research or your participation, please contact Colin Webber via email xxx

The ethical conduct of this research

Griffith University conducts research in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans.  If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the project, please contact the Manager, Research Ethics on xxx or

Consent Form

By signing below, I confirm that I have read and understood the information package and in particular that:

  • I understand that my involvement in this research will include (1. the completion of a set of cognitive tests, 2. participating in videotaped activities and 3. taking notes of activity and participating in interview);
  • I have had any questions answered to my satisfaction;
  • I understand the risks involved;
  • I understand that there will be no direct benefit to me from my participation in this research;
  • I understand that my participation in this research is voluntary and in no way impacts upon assessment activities conducted with the researcher;
  • I understand that if I have any additional questions I can contact the research team;
  • I understand that I am free to withdraw at any time, without comment or penalty;
  • I understand that I can contact the Manager, Research Ethics, at Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee on xxx (or if I have any concerns about the ethical conduct of the project; and

I ______________________________ agree to participate in the research described above.

My contact email address is ______________________________.



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