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Information sheet for participants

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on people who have been bereaved during the past year. This could be due to restrictions that prevented them from being with their loved ones when they passed away, or because of regulations on the conduct of funerals and the numbers of people permitted to attend. Restrictions on social gatherings has also affected people’s ability to be together with family and friends to celebrate the person’s life, to grieve, and to say farewell.

What is the research about?

NatCen Social Research, an independent research organisation, is conducting this research study, which has been funded by UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council. The research will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s usual customs and practices surrounding bereavement and funerals, and the impact this may have had on mental health and wellbeing.

As part of the study, NatCen would like to speak with people who have been bereaved during the pandemic and who have lost a close family member, partner or close friend. We are interested in speaking with people who had some responsibility for organising the funeral or other arrangements, as well as with people who attended a funeral but did not help to organise it. We are intending to interview people who have been bereaved six months ago or more.

What is my involvement?

The interviews will take place over the phone or using Microsoft Teams, will last up to 90 minutes, and can be arranged at a time and date convenient for you. You will also be invited to take part in a follow up interview 6 months later. You will be given a £15 shopping voucher for each interview you decide to participate in.

What will I be talking about in the interview?

The interview topics will include:

  • Your relationship to the person who died during the Covid-19 pandemic, how and when.
  • Your experience of attending and / or arranging the funeral.
  • Experience of bereavement during the pandemic generally, any support needs you had and how they were addressed or not.
  • How you have been feeling during this time.

Do I have to take part?

No, taking part in a research interview for this study is entirely your choice. If you would like to withdraw from the research study before or after the interview, please get in touch with the research team using the contact details below. If, during the interview you would like to stop taking part, please just let the researcher know and they will ensure that the interview is stopped. If you would like to pause and take a break from the interview and continue later, please let the researcher know and they will arrange a convenient time for you to continue the interview.

Is the discussion confidential?

Yes, what you discuss with our researchers is completely confidential. We will not tell anyone outside our research team at NatCen that you have taken part. If you have reached us through a bereavement charity or other organisation, they will not know that you have contacted us, and we will also not tell our funders who has participated.

We will bring the things you have discussed together with information from interviews with other bereaved people and with funeral directors and their staff to produce a report, an academic paper, and present findings at a workshop. All information will be completely anonymous. For example, we may decide to use a quote from your interview, however we will take care not to include anything within that quote or alongside it which could identify you. 

Personal data

With your permission, we will audio record the interview using secure and encrypted software, so that there is a detailed and accurate record of what was discussed. NatCen will carefully manage your personal data with your consent (if you give it), which is our lawful basis for processing. All the information you provide will be held securely and in strict confidence in accordance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will be deleted as soon as possible after the completion of the project, which is due to be completed by 2022. 

How can I take part?

Please respond to the email address or phone number given below to express an interest to take part. We will then be in touch via phone or reply by email and ask you a short set of questions before inviting you to an interview if you decide you would like to take part. As well as answering any questions you have, this is to understand your experience of bereavement during the pandemic a little better and to find out a little about you – occasionally we may have to choose between potential participants to ensure the research covers a range of experiences.

If you need any additional support to participate in the interview, please let the researcher know when booking the interview. For example, some participants may want a family member, carer or friend to sit in on the interview for support, or if English is not your first language, to have support with interpretation.

If you decide to take part in an interview, we will also send you a leaflet which provides some additional information about support services you can access. This is to make sure that you know where to find support following the interview.

Funding and research ethics

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is funding this 18-month research study. The research has received ethical approval from NatCen’s Research Ethics Committee as project P15389. If you have any questions or concerns about this research, you can contact Alex Martin at alexander.martin@natcen.ac.uk.

More information about the research study

If you would like to know more about how the information you provide will be processed, please see the privacy notice.

For more information please also contact the project team at: