Informed Consent

The purpose of this consent form is to give you the information you will need to help you decide whether to be in the study or not. Please read this information carefully. You may ask questions about the purpose of the research, what you will be asked to do, the possible risks and benefits, your rights as a volunteer, and anything else about the research that is not clear. When all your questions have been answered, you can decide if you want to be in the study or not. This process is called “informed consent.” You will get a copy of this form for your records.


The purpose of this research is to understand how adults use online dating technologies to find connection. Through interviews and analysis of dating profiles, this research looks at the stories people tell about their experiences and examines how people negotiate digital communication to construct a desirable self and connect with others. This study considers how people in various communities (including monogamous, non-monogamous, heterosexual, LGBTQ, and kinky) use mainstream and specialized dating technologies to represent a sense of self and communicate with potential partners.


To look at online dating from a variety of angles, I am conducting interviews and looking at online dating profiles. You may participate in one or both aspects of this research. Below are descriptions of the study procedures. At the end of this form, you will find options to provide consent to participate in aspects of the study.


Interviews are 30-60 minutes long and will be conducted in person, on the phone, or online through video chat ad.  I utilize open-ended questions that ask how language, photos, and the navigating app features are part of the process of representing self, searching for others, and making connections. If you have at least one active dating profile, I would like to look at elements of your profile during the course of the interview. We can also integrate a “think-aloud protocol” where you navigate through the online dating space, swiping, liking, passing, clicking, and/or messaging, while talking through the process. You may use your actual name or a username if you prefer to protect your anonymity. If you permit the research to use photos, these may be altered to protect your identity. Interviews will be audio recorded.


Some people feel uncomfortable being interviewed or audio-recorded. In addition, some people feel nervous talking about their experiences with dating. Because of the nature of interviews, the conversation might go in a direction you are not comfortable with. All of your information will be kept confidential, but there is a small chance that someone might recognize you from your statements. I will assign fake names to all participants in the studies, as well as any other people that become visible through the research process.


Your participation in this study will help us learn about the challenges and opportunities of dating in the digital world. You may learn more about yourself and your experiences of dating in this particular environment, but you may not directly benefit from taking part in this study.


All information about you will be kept confidential. I will create a separate file that links your name (if provided) and username(s) name and keep it in a separate location than study data. I will destroy the link between your data and any identifying information at the end of the study. I will code the study data and keep it indefinitely. Your name, profile usernames, and photos will not be used in any publications or presentations of the study results, unless you permit it.

Your participation in the study is voluntary and you may decline to participate without penalty. If you decide to participate you may withdraw from the study at any time without any penalty and without loss of benefits to which you are entitled. If you are a student at the University of Washington, your participation (or lack therefore) in this study will not affect any of your grades or your standing at the university.

Government or university staffs 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. The reviewers will protect your privacy. The study records will not be used to put you at legal risk of harm.

If you have questions later about the research, you can ask one of the researcher. If you have questions about your rights as a research subject, you can call the Human Subjects Division at (206) 543-0098.

Use the contact page to let the researcher know you want to participate in this research.

Dr. Riki Thompson, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Tacoma | | 253-692-4613


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