Dr Rachel Hallett 

FHSCE, 6th Floor, Hunter Wing, St.George’s Campus, London SW17 0RE 

Email: r.hallett@sgul.kingston.ac.uk

Title of study: How can parkruns increase volunteer numbers?

Information for participants 

You are being invited to take part in this study exploring volunteering at parkrun. Please take time to read the following information and discuss with others if you wish. Also please ask me any questions: details below. 

This study is being carried out in partnership with parkrun as part of my work as a postdoctoral researcher in the joint faculty of Kingston University and St George’s, University of London. 

What is the purpose of the study?

I am doing this study to find out more about why people do and don’t volunteer at parkrun. We know anecdotally that there are many reasons behind different levels of volunteering and want to understand these better. Volunteering at parkrun will always be voluntary, but understanding more about it could help make it more accessible for those who would like to volunteer and may currently be reluctant to do so. It’s particularly important for us to understand the perspectives of volunteers alongside those who have not volunteered to see if we can make improvements to the parkrun volunteering system. 

Aims and objectives / background

Every week, parkruns have to recruit a certain number of ad hoc volunteers to cover roles such as marshalling. While some parkruns are easily able to fill volunteer positions, others struggle. We are interested in how this could be addressed, and the first step is to understand volunteering among parkrunners, through a more formal research process so we have a clearer picture than can be obtained anecdotally. 

Why have I been invited? 

You have been invited to take part in this survey because you have taken part in a parkrun event, or events. I am looking to recruit as many people as possible to take part in the esurvey stage of the research. The more people take part, the more reliable the results will be. There is also a follow-up interview stage. In the survey, you will be given the option to offer to take part in the interviews, with no obligation, and a small number of participants will be invited to take part in an individual phone interview. 

Do I have to take part? 

It is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you decide not to take part this will not affect any relationship or arrangement you have with me, the universities I represent, parkrun, or with any other organisation that you might have heard about this study from. If you do take part you are free to withdraw at any time up to one month afterwards, without giving any reason and without any detriment to you. 

What will happen if I do take part?

The first part of the research is the esurvey at www.tinyurl.com/parkrun-volunteering. When you click on the link, the survey will open and will start with some questions asking for your consent to participate. If you are happy to give consent, you will be able to progress to the main survey, where you will be asked questions about your parkrunning and parkrun volunteering, and your views on volunteering. We are very keen that those who don’t volunteer are not made to feel pressured; volunteering will never be obligatory at parkrun, and we can assure you that our aim is to collect information and build understanding, not to judge any individual. You will have the option to leave your email address if you are willing to take part in a follow up interview: this is completely optional, and you may prefer to remain anonymous (your email address might identify you). If you take part in an interview, you will be given an electronic copy of this information to keep and be asked to sign a consent form by typing in your name and emailing it back to me; this consent is separate from the consent which is integrated into the esurvey, and ensures that I check for your consent at the outset of both studies. The research involves you taking part in a one-to-one interview with me over the phone. The interview would last 30 minutes to an hour. There is no obligation to take part, and you would be able to withdraw prior to the interview taking place, during the interview, or up to one month afterwards. Beyond this point, findings may have been circulated, so it might not be possible to withdraw your data, although I would endeavour to do so. 

What are the possible benefits of taking part? 

The study will help us develop ideas to make parkrun volunteering easier and more accessible for those who would like to volunteer but are reluctant to do so. This will help ensure events have plenty of volunteers and can run more smoothly. 

What are the risks of taking part?

There are no anticipated risks in taking part. However some people may find talking about their experiences upsetting or uncomfortable. You will be able to exit the survey at any point and incomplete surveys will not be included in the analysis. If you wish to withdraw your data after completing a survey, you can do so by contacting the researcher. If you take part in one of the follow-up interviews, you can stop the interview and take a break at any time. You can decide whether you want to continue to participate, or if you would rather withdraw. If you suffer high levels of distress as a consequence of participation, you should consult your GP as a first point of contact to access professional support services. 

Will my taking part in the study be kept confidential? 

Yes. We will follow ethical and legal practice and all information will be handled in confidence. Only the researchers will have access to the original data (the esurvey data and the recording of your interview and the transcription of it which the researcher will produce). All the information gathered will be securely stored on a password protected computer and no names or contact details will be attached to the data files. 

What will happen to the results of the study? 

The results will be circulated to parkrun and among core teams from parkrun events. Your anonymity will be preserved at all times and you will not be identifiable. I will write up my findings to submit to a suitable journal, and may also present them at conferences. You will not be identified in any way in any material that is presented. If you are quoted, I will ensure that you are given a pseudonym and that there is no information in the quote from which you might be identified. 

Who has reviewed this study? 

The study has been looked at by an independent group of people called the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education Research Ethics Committee to protect your safety, rights, and dignity. They have given a favourable opinion. What if I have a complaint? If you wish to complain about any aspect of the research, please raise this with the Researcher. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, please contact the Dean of the Faculty, using the details given below. 

Contact Details of Dean 

Professor Andy Kent, A.Kent@sgul.kingston.ac.uk 

Researcher’s Contact Details

Rachel Hallett, 6th Floor, Hunter Wing, St. George’s Campus, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE. 

Email: r.hallett@sgul.kingston.ac.uk

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