Focus Group Study Information Sheet

University of California Study Information Sheet
Writing Lives of UC Alumni: Focus Groups

Dr. Jonathan Alexander
English Department, UC Irvine

Dr. Karen Lunsford
Writing Program, UC Santa Barbara

Dr. Carl Whithaus
University Writing Program, UC Davis

You are being asked to participate in a research study to inquire into what knowledges about writing students are developing not just in the classroom but outside of it as well. By mapping students’ knowledge about writing and writing processes through focus groups, we hope to see the dynamics around how a diverse student population is generating and using knowledge about writing.

You are eligible to participate in this study if you are at least 18 years of age, have received a Bachelor’s degree from a UC campus within the last 3 to 10 years, and have access to a computer through which you can participate in the focus group. Although you may receive multiple invitations, please participate only once.

The research procedures involve an audio-recorded interview (with approximately 2-5 other participants) that will last approximately 60 minutes; you’ll participate from your own computer or from a computer to which you have access.

Possible risks/discomforts associated with the study are very minimal. Talking about your writing processes and habits shouldn’t be cause for any undue stress, but you are allowed to skip any questions you don’t feel like answering. There are no direct benefits from participation in the study. However, this study may give you insight into your own writing processes and how you learned to write.

You will not be compensated for your participation in this research study. All research data collected will be stored securely and confidentially. The data will be stored via a password-protected Google Drive OR via a password-protected, file-sharing service. We will keep a master list of real names of focus group participants (in a separate secure location).

The research team, and authorized IRB personnel, may have access to your study records to protect your safety and welfare. Any information derived from this research project that personally identifies you will not be voluntarily released or disclosed by these entities without your separate consent, except as specifically required by law. Please note that any data collected by one of the co-researchers listed above will be shared with the other co-researchers.

If you have questions about this research and are unable to reach the researchers listed at the top of the form and have general questions; if you have concerns or complaints about the research; if you have questions about your rights as a research subject; or if you have general comments or suggestions, you may contact the Institutional Review Board:

o UCD’s Office of Research can be reached at (916) 703-9151 or email at, or at 1850 Research Park Drive, Davis, CA 95618-6153

o UCI’s Office of Research can be reached by phone, (949) 824-6662, by e-mail at, or at 141 Innovation Drive, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92697

o UCSB’s Human Subjects Committee can be reached by phone, (805) 893-3807; by email at; or at University of California, Human Subjects Committee, Office of Research, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2050

What is an IRB? An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee made up of scientists and non-scientists. The IRB’s role is to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects involved in research. The IRB also assures that the research complies with applicable regulations, laws, and institutional policies.

Participation in this study is voluntary. There is no cost to you for participating. You may choose to skip a question or a study procedure. You may refuse to participate or discontinue your involvement at any time without penalty. You are free to withdraw from this study at any time. If you decide to withdraw from this study you should notify the research team immediately.