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Study and Consent Information

What is the aim of this study?
In this study, we want to find out which stories people tell about Christmas trees: Which role do these trees play in how people celebrate Christmas? Are there particular (family) traditions tied to their selection, decorating, storage or recycling? We also want to learn more about how people talk about Christmas trees: Which linguistic patterns from metaphors over lexical choices to phonetic aspects of the voice are used when these stories are told and discussed? And, finally, we are interested in how people interact with each other while telling stories about Christmas trees: Do they challenge each other’s narratives, do they utter support? 

How do we collect data?
We look for volunteers who want to share their stories with us. These volunteers are audio-recorded after giving us permission to do so.

What happens to your data?
Only people involved in this scientific study will have access to the data. We will store the recorded verbal permissions for data collection, which contain your full name, separately from the stories and discussions, so only the investigators will be able to connect your name with the stories you choose to tell. 
Audio data can never be completely freed from any possibility of re-identification. For the scientific analysis of the stories and discussions about Christmas trees (not for the verbal permissions for data collection), the audio data will be converted into written form (transcribed), all personal details will be removed from the audio, the text and/or pseudonymised as far as possible. The data will only be quoted in scientific publications in written form and in extracts. Your data will be analysed by linguists. This means we will look at the various choices you make when you talk to us, from the words and metaphors you use to phonetic aspects of your voice. We will use conversation analytic methods, e.g. transcribe the stories, and also instrumental methods that allow us to measure acoustic aspects of your language production. We will publish the results of this study in academic publications and will use pseudonyms to refer to individual participants. The audio data will be stored and archived exclusively in Germany on a secure system in compliance with the GDPR.

How can you withdraw your participation after having been recorded?
If you would like to withdraw from this study, please send an email to one or both of the investigators (carolin.schwegler[at]uni-koeln.de, marion.schulte[at]uni-rostock.de) giving us your full name. You do not have to provide reasons for your withdrawal and can withdraw at any time. Your data will then be deleted. If study results based partly on your data have already been published at the point of your withdrawal, your data will not be used for any further publications.

Do you want to know what we found out?
If you are interested in the study results or have any questions about data storage, analysis, or any other aspect of this study, please send an email to one or both of the investigators (carolin.schwegler[at]uni-koeln.de, marion.schulte[at]uni-rostock.de). We will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also visit our website to get more information about this and other projects with similar aims.

Dr. Carolin Schwegler
Prof. Dr. Marion Schulte