Participant Information Sheet  

Study title:

Testing the Community of Inquiry Model by creating social presences in an online seminar for nurses: a qualitative approach.

Invitation and brief summary:

You are being invited to take part in a research study which will be based on your participation in the discussion forums throughout the Global Online Seminar for Nurse Leadership and Collaboration. Joining this study is entirely up to you, and is not a requirement in order to take part in the seminar. If you are interested we would encourage you to read this information sheet.

One key area of the Global Online seminar is the use of an online discussion board that will run simultaneously with the presentations, this will be facilitated by Padlet and WebEx platforms. It is anticipated that during these session, you will have thoughts on how some of the ideas, opportunities or challenges presented by the speaker could be used to initiate change in their workplace. You will be encouraged during and after the speaker`s presentation to post your ideas on to the corresponding discussion forums to create a collaborative space for information exchange. These discussion forums provided a unique opportunity for research and this study is designed to gain a deeper understanding of how participants use and develop their social presence to engage with these teaching and learning opportunities.

What is this study about?

The aim of this project is to test the Community of Inquiry Model (COI) (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000). The COI model is a teaching and learning model that focuses on improving the interactions that are possible when using media in a learning environment. This study will focus specifically on your social presence, which is defined as your ability as a learner to project yourself socially and affectively into a community of inquiry. The aims of this study are firstly to understand how you develop your own social presence in an online forum as part of the COI model. Secondly, to investigate how Padlet and WebEX work as tools to facilitate your engagement with your and others` social presence. And finally, this study would like to improve understanding of the facilitator`s role in how you and other participants use and engage with their social presence.

It is anticipated that this research will help to improve how educators use online technologies in their teaching practice. As the use of online methods of information delivery increase, and is indeed expected, it is crucial that educators improve their understanding of how students interact with type of information delivery. This will allow for more efficient ways of developing and using this technology as well as ultimately improving the student learning experience.

All of the participants in the Global Online seminar have been invited to take part in this study.

What would taking part involve?

To take part in this study, you will need to take part in the Global Online Seminar for Nurse Leadership and Collaboration on July 24th, 2019 and be an active participant in the discussion forums. Most importantly, you will need to complete the informed consent form (this is included following this information sheet) in order to be included in this study.

As this study is investigating how participants have engaged with the discussion forums, once the Global Online seminar is finished and the discussion forums are closed, you will not have to take any further action.

Do I have to take part?

No, you do not need to take part. Participation is entirely voluntary and you are free to withdraw from the study at any time.

Will I be anonymous?

You are encouraged not to use your real name when making posts as this will promote anonymity. Should any personal identifiable information disclosed on the discussion forums (ex. age, gender, ethnicity, place of work) be posted to padlet during the course of the seminar, these details will be kept confidential and no identifying information will be used when presenting the findings of this study.


If you decided that for any reason throughout the seminar, or after, that you no longer wish to take part in this study, you can:
• Go back to the Padlet board and remove any of the anonymous posts you made up to 24 hours after the seminar has closed
• Can email the Principal Investigator, Andrew Waddington at and notify him of any posts made by yourself and would like to be excluded from the research study.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

It is not possible to guarantee any specific benefits from taking part in this study. However, this type of research has the potential to deliver wider benefits. In this case, it is proposed that the data from this study will help the researchers understand how participants develop their social presence when engaging with online methods of teaching and ultimately investigate how this aligns with the COI model. It is hoped that this will inform educators how to further improve the online teaching and learning experience.

What are the possible risks of taking part?

There is a low chance of any risks to you as a participant in this study. However, there is a possibility that sensitive or controversial topics are discussed on the forums. The discussion forums will be moderated by the seminar facilitators and the primary researcher in order to keep the tone of these discussions professional. If for some reason the information you have disclosed about your self identifies you personally to the researchers, you may be withdrawn from the study at the researcher’s discretion in order to prevent researcher bias. If for any reason you wish to withdraw from the study you are free to do so at any time. Details of this process are listed in the section below.

What will happen after the study finishes?

Once the study is complete, the researchers aim to present the findings of this study at conference and to publish the findings of this study in an academic journal. In presenting these findings, any information you have provided will remain anonymous.

Further supporting information:

If you have any further questions about the study you may email the principal investigator, Andrew Waddington at If would like to discuss any component of this study with someone who is not associated to the research project you may email Anne Rowat at who can act as an independent advisor to the project.

Version control

This is version 1.3, released July 2019.

Privacy Notice

Name of research project: Testing the Community of Inquiry Model by creating social presences in an online seminar for nurses: a qualitative approach.

Description of research project: The study aims to understand participant’s development and use of an online discussion board throughout a nursing seminar in relation to the Community of Inquiry Model (COI) (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000) social presence element. This will be done using data mining (Grant, 2019) and the data analysis framework for social presence developed by Rourke, Anderson, Garrison and Archer (2007).

Data Controller


Edinburgh Napier University
Purposes for


The aim of the study is to investigate how participants of an online seminar develop and use their online social presence to contribute to the online discussion forums.
Legal basis  

Under Article 6(1)(a) or Article 9(2)(a), of the General Data Protection Regulation (as the legal basis for processing data) Edinburgh Napier University is the data controller and the legal basis for this study is that you have given explicit consent to take part. You have been advised of your right to withdraw consent at any time and how to do this.


Whose information is being collected Participants of the Global Online Seminar for Nurse Leadership and Collaboration who have consented to take part in the study.
What type/classes/fields of information are collected Participants will have a username that they will use when contributing to the discussion forums. These names will by anonymised once the seminar is complete for the purpose of data collection.


There is a possibility that during the discussion, a participant’s gender, educational level, employment status and ethnicity will be revealed.


Who is the information being collected from Data is being collected directly from the participant in the study.
How is the information being collected Information will be collected from the Padlet discussion boards which are supported by the Global Online Seminar webpage.
Is personal data shared externally No



How secure is the information Data will be stored on the University’s secure data centres. These datacentres are resilient and feature access controls, environmental monitoring, backup power supplies and redundant hardware. Information on these servers is backed up regularly. The University has various data protection and information security policies and procedures to ensure that appropriate organisational and technical measures are in place to protect the privacy or your personal data.
Who keeps the information updated The principal investigator (Andrew Waddington) is responsible for keeping the study information updated. He will ensure that your data is destroyed if you request this.
How long is the information kept for Any paper documents with identifiable information will transferred to an electronic recorded and then shredded as confidential waste within three months. At the end of the research, anonymised electronic data will be kept securely for ten years and then will be destroyed as per Edinburgh Napier University guidance on the safe disposal of confidential waste.  All electronic files containing data will be deleted from the secure university server where the data is held.
Will the data be used for any automated decision making No
Is information transferred to a third country? Outside the EEA and not included in the adequate countries list. No

Information on subject rights and data protection queries: