Informed Consent for Participants.
Principal Investigators: 
Dr. Holly Matusovich - matushm@vt.edu 
Dr. Stephanie Adams - Stephanie.Adams@UTDallas.edu
1. Purpose of Research:
You are invited to participate in a research study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) which aims to develop a deeper understanding of underrepresented minority doctoral students in engineering motivations and experiences in graduate school. The goal of the Dissertation Institute is to help graduate students underrepresented in STEM fields with the writing aspect of the dissertation process.  Through the Dissertation Institute, we hope that participant’s ability beliefs about writing increase and that students value the writing process more.  As a participant of the Dissertation Institute, we would also like to request your consent to use your application information for research. At the bottom of this page, you will have the choice to opt into the individual parts of the study or opt out of the study completely and submit your survey responses for Dissertation Institute evaluation purposes. Research participants must be over the age of 18.
We anticipate disseminating our findings in several ways including: 1) Through conference proceedings and journal publications and 2) through workshops intended for graduate faculty and graduate administrators.
2. Procedure
The study consists of four elements: pre-post-followup surveys, focus groups, & individual interviews.
a. Pre, Post, Followup Survey: The purpose of these surveys is to gather student data, specifically motivation beliefs, before, after, and approximately 6 months after attending the Dissertation Institute. The pre-survey will follow this consent form, the post-survey will be emailed on the last day of the Institute, and the follow-up survey will be emailed around six months upon completion of the Institute. Each survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. You will be given the option to complete the survey for evaluation and research purposes or evaluation purposes only. b. Individual Interviews: The main activity of this part of the study is an interview to be conducted individually. Should you elect to participate, you will be asked to describe your experiences as a doctoral student and doctoral advisor including those related to writing, advising, and more generally with regard to resources used to aid students with degree completion and other support structures that may influence student’s success and roadblocks. The interview will take no more than one hour to complete. With your permission, the interview will be audio recorded and transcribed.  You will be invited as part of the pre-survey to participate in an interview at the Institute.  c. You will also be invited on the follow-up survey to participate in an interview to be conducted by phone.  You may choose to participate in one, both, or neither interview.  d. Workshop and Writing cluster evaluations: These surveys are to obtain your feedback on the workshop and cluster sessions and potential improvements for the future. The results will be presented in aggregate and no responses will be attributed to you as an individual. Your response to each item is voluntary and you can skip any items with which you are uncomfortable. Filling those surveys indicates that you consent to (a) completing the survey voluntarily; (b) aggregate use of responses with no individual responses attributed to you; and (c) use of results to improve future workshops. Each survey should take approximately 5 minutes to complete right after each session
3. Risks and Benefits: 
The risks associated with participating in this research are minimal and there are no known benefits to participants. 
4. Confidentiality:
Your identity and that of any individuals who you mention in any portion of the study will be kept confidential at all times. All data will be kept on a secure website. 
Your name or an assessment code will be asked at the beginning of each survey so we can connect your responses across data sources but we will de-identify the responses for reporting purposes.
To better preserve your privacy, all information that could potentially identify you will be removed and replaced with a random identification code. The original data files (e.g. audiotapes, interview transcripts) will be archived until the Principal Investigators decide that they are no longer needed, at which point they will be destroyed. Your individual privacy will be maintained in all published and written data resulting from the study. In addition, government or university staff sometimes review studies such as this one to make sure they are being done safely and legally. If a review of this study takes place, your records may be examined but the reviewers will maintain your privacy. The Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board (VT-IRB) may view the study’s data for auditing purposes. The IRB is responsible for the oversight of the protection of human subjects involved in research.
5. Consent and Withdrawal of Consent:
The surveys will be used for Dissertation Institute feedback (evaluation) and, if you consent for research.  Your participation in the research aspect is entirely voluntary. By checking the research option for the individual components below, you agree that you understand the purpose of the study, the risks and benefits, and that your data is anonymous and confidential. By checking the research option, you agree that your data for the specified component may be collected, analyzed, and disseminated (as part of the larger data set) for research conferences and publications.  If you choose the evaluation option, your data will not be used as part of the research study and will only be used for evaluation of the Dissertation Institute. 
It is important for you to know that you are free to withdraw from this study at any time without penalty. You are free to not answer any questions that you choose or respond to what is being asked of you without penalty. Although a participant may withdraw at any time, data already published cannot be withdrawn, though continued analysis of the participant’s data will cease. Please note that there may be circumstances under which the investigator may determine that a subject should not continue as a subject. 
Please direct any questions about the study to Dr. Holly Matusovich at matush@vt.edu.  Please direct any questions about your rights as a human subjects research participant to the Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board at irb@vt.edu.
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