Invitation and Participant information

Invitation
You are invited to participate in a research study on the welfare of wild penguins.  Before you decide whether or not you wish to participate in this study, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve.  Please take the time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish.

Researchers:
A/Prof Raf Freire, BSc(Hons), PhD
Institute for Land, Water and Society
Charles Sturt University
Australia
Email: rfreire@csu.edu.au
Phone: (+612) 69334451

Dr Melanie Massaro, BSc(Hons), PhD
Institute for Land, Water and Society
Charles Sturt University
Australia
Email: mmassaro@csu.edu.au
Phone: (+612)60519810.

Dr Philip Trathan, BSc (Hons), PhD, MA, DSc, OBE
British Antarctic Survey
United Kingdom
Email: pnt@bas.ac.uk

Prof Christine Nicol, MA, DPhil
The Royal Veterinary College
United Kingdom
Email: cnicol@rvc.ac.uk
What is the purpose of this study?
This study aims to develop a tool to assess the impact of human actions on penguin welfare (i.e. anthropogenic effects on penguins). The tool is based on a widely used approach to assess animal welfare which is called the five domains model.  In this study we will assess if this is a useful tool to estimate wild penguin welfare.  After our assessment, the tool will be made available to anyone who needs to make decisions that consider penguin welfare in management and policy.

Why have I been invited to participate in this study?
We are seeking participants who have an interest and/or expertise in penguin biology, animal health or animal welfare.

What does this study involve?
If you would like to participate, this SurveyMonkey questionnaire is comprised of two parts and will take about 15 minutes to complete. The first short section will provide us with some broad insight into your background and experience.  The second section will present 5 brief hypothetical scenarios that describe the day of a penguin.  You will be asked to assess how the events of the day influence the penguin.  The questionnaire is anonymous; no-one will be able to identify your answers and no-one will know what you have written.

Are there risks and benefits to me in taking part in this study?
There are negligible risks to participation which is voluntary and you may choose to not answer a question.  No record of your identity will be collected by the researchers.  Undertaking this questionnaire may illustrate the potential threats to penguin welfare, and we will disclose our findings in publication or on request.  Penguin conservation can be an emotive topic and reading the scenarios may be distressing for some participants.  You are encouraged to seek professional help if the survey raises any difficult or distressing issues.

How is this study being paid for?
This study is supported by a Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) grant.

Will taking part in this study cost me anything, and will I be paid?
There will be no cost to you for participating in this study; we only require your time to answer the questionnaire.  Participation is voluntary and there are no payments for participation.
What if I don’t want to take part in this study?
Participation in this research is entirely your choice.  There is no obligation to take part in this study.  No-one will know if you have taken part in this study or not, unless you choose to tell them.

What if I participate and want to withdraw later?
Once entered, your responses cannot be withdrawn because it is anonymous. However, if you wish to withdraw prior to the analysis of response data you may do so by closing your browser.  Incomplete responses will be discarded before data analysis.

How will my confidentiality be protected?
No personal identifying information will be recorded on the survey.  IP addresses will not be collected.

What will happen to the information that I give you?
The results of this study will be submitted for publication and details of the welfare assessment tool made available on our Institute’s web page under a creative common licence for unrestricted use.

What should I do if I want to discuss this study further before I decide?
If you would like further information please contact Raf Freire rfreire@csu.edu.au

Who should I contact if I have concerns about the conduct of this study?
Charles Sturt University’s Human Research Ethics Committee has approved this project [Protocol number H20292].  If you have any complaints or reservations about the ethical conduct of this project, you may contact the Committee through the Ethics and Compliance Unit via the following contact details:
     The Governance Officer
     Human Research Ethics Committee
     Ethics and Compliance Unit
     Locked Bag 588
     Wagga Wagga NSW 2678
     Phone: (02) 6933 4213
     Email: ethics@csu.edu.au

Any issues you raise will be treated in confidence and investigated fully and you will be informed of the outcome.
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