Looking for research participants

#1
I am a researcher at St Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and am working on a project on spiritual identity. I am interested in the spiritual journeys people take, and where they currently find themselves. Details can be found at: http://wp.stu.ca/narrativestudies/research/spiritual-identity-in-new-religious-movements/  I attach the project information sheet and a consent form.

The research consists of being interviewed about how you came to realise your spiritual nature, and an exploration of what this means to you in your everyday life, your relationships, and your place in the world.  It is possible to participate in the research totally anonymously - I would just need a telephone number or Skype address on which to contact you - or for you to call me.  It doesn't matter where you live, though interviews will need to be in English.

I attach the participant information sheet, and consent form to this post. I have ethics committee approval from the university for the project.

If you are willing to speak to me, please contact me by phone or email.  And, of course, if you have any questions about the study, please get back to me.

Many thanks

Clive Baldwin

Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies

Professor of Social Work

Tel: 506 452 9596

Email: baldwin@stu.ca

View attachment Spiritual identity PIS.docx

View attachment Spiritual identity transcript consent form.docx
 

Naia

irl sonic
Staff member
Administrator
#2
This user has been approved for research. Please only respond if you are over eighteen years old.
 
#3
I would like to provide some further information upfront about my research project, to help in deciding whether or not to participate.

First, I am aware that sometimes researchers can use data gathered in interviews in ways that informants never intended and/or see as misrepresenting their position and experience.  The way I try to deal with this is to send participants a copy of the transcript of their interviews, so that they can be reviewed and participants can correct, clarify, or take out things that they wish they hadn't said.  Once this has been done, participants consent to me using the agreed transcript.  Also, I am happy to send to participants the exact passage(s) I want to quote from their interviews, and the context in which those quotes will be used, so that participants can agree to the use of their material.  Participants are also free to withdraw from the project at any time - and upon doing so, any materials pertaining to them will be destroyed.  So, if you don't like how I have used what you said, you can withdraw, and I will take out any reference to you.  (Hopefully, we would be able to find a way of including your material that is mutually acceptable, but you have the final say).  Obviously, once any article or paper is out there, I cannot withdraw it, but you can always withdraw your agreement from being included in any subsequent publications.  My over-riding concerns here are that participants feel safe in talking to me, that I accurately represent participants' experiences, and that I leave participants, hopefully in a better place, but if not at least not having done any harm.  I find the best way to do that is to give as much control over the process as possible to participants.

Second, if you want to participate anonymously, that too is fine.  I will, obviously need a contact phone number, Skype address, or Discord #, but you do not have to give me your real name if you do not want to.  I will also need the time zone in which you reside, so as to make arrangements to chat.  I can take consent verbally when we chat if you prefer.  Of course, if you want a copy of your transcript (see above) then I will also need an email address to which to send it.  

Third, participants must be over 18.  I do not have ethics approval to interview people under 18, and it is also the policy of Kinmunity that research participants be over 18.  To this end, I have adapted the consent form to include a statement to that effect - see attached.

Fourth, if you want to have a conversation about the research before deciding to participate or not, then please contact me.  You can email or phone me (baldwin@stu.ca  506 452 9596).  My Skype address is clive.baldwin62 if you want to contact me that way - but please indicate that you are interested in the research project in the invitation to become a contact - so that I do not inadvertently delete your invitation.  I am working out how to use Discord (my Discord # is #8584) - but am new to it, so you will have to bear with me, if that is your preferred means of contact.

I hope the above is helpful, and I hope that you will consider being part of this project.

Clive

View attachment Spiritual identity Consent form Kinmunity.docx

View attachment Spiritual identity PIS.docx
 

Shezep

Holy Birb
VIP
#4
I see you're trying to cover all of your bases there. Let me suggest a couple more. In this age of texting and social media, typing is often the communication style of choice, especially for those of us who are way outside the main stream. We often write long anonymous essays about things we'd never directly tell another human being. A voice interview might seem a little too revealing for some.

I personally hate using voice chat even though our site provides one. I also hate talking to strangers over the telephone, and have literally gotten into arguments over who should call out for pizza. Just a few informal observations leads me to believe this isn't as uncommon among introverts as you might expect. Being able to conduct business online rather than over a phone has been a blessing. As far as otherkin in general go, our informal surveys indicate that we have an unnaturally high number of INFPs hanging around. Lots of shy and deeply passionate introverts. 

The second thing you ought to watch out for is that our community is regularly infiltrated by trolls. While your offer may sound intimidating to actual otherkin, it might also be seen as another source of entertainment for the troll crowd who will enjoy making things up for shock value, like they always do. If you happen to get volunteers from this site who have a low post count, you might want to keep that in mind.  

As you indicated above, our community has been burned by people who say they're doing research before. It is good that you allow participants to review the work and remove consent if necessary. 

Honestly, I've got to say that your hook has no bait. 
 
#5
Hello all,

I am just reposting an invitation for individuals to participate in interviews.

I am a research assistant working for Dr. Clive Baldwin at St Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and we are working on a project concerning the narratives of identity. We are interested in the journeys people take, and where they currently find themselves regarding their identity. Details can be found at: http://wp.stu.ca/narrativestudies/r...-and-therianthropes-narrative-identity/807-2/. Additionally, we have created a few Facebook groups for contact purposes, recruiting, and keeping participants up to date on where we are in the research, as well as all information and documents pertaining to the research. These groups can be found by going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/therianidentityresearch/ or https://www.facebook.com/groups/otherkinidentityresarch/. They are totally secure to ensure no trolling.

The research consists of being interviewed about how you came to realise your spiritual nature, and an exploration of what this means to you in your everyday life, your relationships, and your place in the world. It is possible to participate in the research totally anonymously -all I would need is a Skype name, telephone number, or email for contact purposes. It doesn't matter where you live, though interviews will need to be in English. You may choose to do the interview through a Skype call, phone call, email, discord, Facebook messenger, etc.

I have attached the participant information sheet, and consent form to this post. I have ethics committee approval from the university for the project.

If you are willing to speak to me, please contact Dr. Baldwin. And, of course, if you have any questions about the study, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Many thanks

Clive Baldwin

Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies

Professor of Social Work

Tel: 506 452 9596

Email: baldwin@stu.ca
 

Attachments

Nøkken

VIP Gold
VIP
#6
I may be interested in participating. The only thing I would like to know more about, if it is possible to disclose this information to me, is what kinds of methodological assumptions, philosophical and psychological literature/theories y'all would be drawing upon in the analysis of this information.

My concern here is that, in previous research, some academics have co-opted the community to front a particular ideological agenda. This was the case for a number of researchers in Religious Studies who have been presenting a complete mischaracterization of the community as a "religious movement" in order to argue for the existence of hyper-real fictional religions qua Adam Possamai and other social constructionists. Their methodological biases inherently invalidate the beliefs and ideas of the community they are studying and some researchers even have had the gall to write our own history for us without any community participation *COUGH* Venetia Robertson. Mind you, Possamai et al haven't even read Baudrillard's concepts of hyperreality in the right light and misunderstand them entirely. (This is probably why a lot of their arguments are borderline incoherent.) Inadvertently, they end up privileging Western monotheistic religions while completely misrepresenting our community.

I mean, look at this pile of ideologically biased shit written with no community participation and arguing that somehow we are a religion formed from fictional sources like role-playing games:
https://wrldrels.org/2016/10/08/therianthropy/
https://wrldrels.org/2016/10/08/otherkin/

It's remarkable that someone like that can get away with such poor academic practice just because our community is not visible.

So my question is basically, are y'all going to be approaching this from the 'hyper-real' dungpile of bad philosophy?

If not, I'm game to participate.

If so, I will have to decline and recommend that others do so. I'm already skeptical of y'all because you are lumping Otherkin/Therians together with Furries and Bronies in the description of your research even though you claim to recognize they are independent communities. I don't personally want Otherkin and Therianthropy even mentioned in the same breath as Bronies.

Why can't you just focus upon one community and conduct decent ethnographic research first in order to understand your subject matter before you start trying to use communities to front a philosophical hypothesis on the structure of spiritual identity formulation?

No one that approaches our community gives a damn about ethnographic research. What they care about is using us as an example of some other concept they're interested in, usually "spirituality in the Internet" or "cybercultures" or "youth culture" or "posthumanity" or whatever other agenda ultimately exploits our existence to further a goal that only serves the researcher. It's lazy academic practice because conducting proper ethnographic work is hard. So everyone and their mother relies on these qualitative interviews which can be skewed to say any damn thing they want to say and never actually represent what the community is, nor offer any sound insight into what is occurring in the identities of members without basically reducing it to some other humanistic ideological assumption that deligitimizes the claims of Otherkin and Therians.

It would be nice if, for once, some researcher actually studied our community in and of itself instead of using us as mere data for some other hypothesis that is of no relevance to our community whatsoever.
 
Last edited:
#7
Hi there! I cannot personally answer the majority of these questions as I am no the lead researcher. I am simply a research assistant for Dr. Baldwin, however, I will say that the research is not piggy backing off any ideological agenda. Our concern is understanding the identity of being other than human, in whatever form that may be (partially, completely, spiritually, psychologically, and so on). To do this we are, and have, been conducting interviews with members of the community so that they may tell us their journey to identity, their identity currently, any transgressions, shifts, the origin of identity (reincarnation, trapped souls, etc.), and anything else that is important to their identity as Otherkin or Therian. We do heavily focus on Otherkin and Therian, however we decided to open it up to Bronies and Furries recently, because although they are not connected to the community, they are also communities that are misunderstood and misrepresented in the broader community.

As for the other questions, I urge you to get in contact with Dr. Baldwin via email (baldwin@stu.ca), so that he may clear up them up. From my perspective I would say that we are certainly not looking at the identity as being "hyper-real", we consider this identity just like any other (female, male, diabetic, European, Catholic, you get me point). Therefore, we are interested in getting out the real story of Otherkin and Therianthropy so that others will understand it in the same way, as from what I gather this is how members of the community view the identity as well. Our main goal is to create a pool of resources to help individuals who have not yet awakened, and who may be curious about their identity. Many of our participants have expressed that after finding the community of Otherkin or Therianthropy they felt a sense of belonging, and an understanding of the self. We would like to make this process easier, so that one may find their identity sooner, connect with others whom have shared the same experiences, as well as gain access to materials that explain the events they have been experiencing (shifts, etc.)

Like I said, I strongly suggest you contact Dr. Baldwin. He would be more than happy to completely clear up whatever questions you may have, provide additional information, etc. He is very open to any comments or suggestions from the community regarding what direction we should be heading, if we have omitted something important, or if we have reported something incorrectly!

Thank you for your interest! I hope I could help at least a little bit!

Lauren Ripley
 
#8
To clear the air, Clive and I have decided to make a statement so that our intentions are understood. The project is about identity and mis-represented communities. We have chosen four such communities, not because we think they are the same and can be 'lumped together' but precisely because they are different from each other and should not be lumped together. In so doing, we hope to help others to understand the different communities. The title of the project is inclusive of the four communities, describing the project's field, and not any relationship between these communities. Through engagement with each of these communities we hope to identify the similarities and differences between them, and thus generate greater understanding of, and respect for, each.

We want to hear YOUR story- the boons and blessings, the shifts, you AHA moments, awakening (pre and post included), and anything in between that you are comfortable sharing with us. All information is anonymous to anyone but us, however if you do not want to share your name with us we respect your request, although we will need a way to contact you (email, Skype, discord, facebook). As soon as you have read the consent form, agreed to the terms, and have participated in an interview we will assign you a code name (for example 2018A).

Lauren