Project Title: Examining the conversational contributions used by students during team meetings
Primary Researcher: Sam Farley (s.j.farley@sheffield.ac.uk)

Invitation: You are invited to participate in a study on the conversational contributions used in team meetings:

We have developed a method of recording the conversational contributions used by team members into 15 different categories of behaviour, examples include ‘Proposing’, ‘Giving task information’ and ‘Seeking task information’.

The aim of our study is to determine how giving team’s and individual’s feedback on their conversational contributions influences effective teamwork.

If you choose to participate, an ‘observer’ will categorise each individual’s conversational contributions during your GEC team meetings. Observers will be post-graduate students, who will sit in on all of your meetings during the week and record conversational contributions on an iPad app.

What will happen:

If nobody in your team ‘opts-out’ at this stage and your team is allocated into the study, a postgraduate observer will introduce themselves to you on the first day of the challenge and give you an opportunity to ask questions.

Your team will then be allocated to one of three research conditions, the condition you’re assigned to will affect what happens at the end of each challenge day:

  • One condition will not receive any feedback or video explanation on their conversational contributions (until after the week is over).
  • Another condition will receive video explanation on their conversational contributions, but no feedback (until after the week is over).
  • A final condition will receive both video explanation and immediate feedback.

At the end of each day, team members in every condition will be asked to complete a short worksheet, which will include perceptual questions on how you feel your team is working.

In order to correlate your team behavioral data with demographic data (such as gender and native language), we also request permission to access your student records. Please note that your data will remain confidential to the study researchers and results will only ever be shared at the group level, with no individual identified.

Participants’ Rights

  • You are free to withdraw from the study at any time if you feel uncomfortable being observed (this will not involve you withdrawing, but instead the observer will stop coding and leave your meeting).
  • Should any members of the team decide they are not happy with being involved then the whole team will be withdrawn.
  • You are under no obligation to answer questions posed by the worksheet.
  • You are under no obligation to participate in the study.
  • You have the right to request that any data you have supplied at any point be withdrawn.
  • You have the right to have your questions about the procedures answered.

If you have any questions as a result of reading this information sheet, you should ask the primary researcher (Sam Farley – s.j.farley@sheffield.ac.uk) or Daria Hernandez Ibar (d.hernandez-ibar@sheffield.ac.uk).

Benefits and Risks:

  • Groups who participate will receive individualised feedback on their communication behaviour, which may help improve teamwork skills.
  • Groups who participate will get the chance to take part in a learning activity which is considered innovative by the University of Sheffield.
  • There are no known risks regarding your participation in this study.

Confidentiality / Anonymity

Your name and email address will be recorded by the observer to ensure that conversational contributions are applied to the right individual.

To protect confidentiality / anonymity we will keep the conversational and questionnaire data on a password protected computer for a period of 10 years and the research team will be the only people who have access to this data. Any information on your team meetings shared outside the research team will be anonymised to protect your identity.

Remember if you feel uncomfortable at any time, please inform the observer who will stop recording immediately and leave the meeting. If you need to discuss your participation in this study with someone, please contact student counselling services: Tel. – 0114 222 4134, Email – UCS@sheffield.ac.uk.