Research Sponsor:Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Purpose of the Study: The purpose of the study is to understand the value that information has on environmental risk management decisions, and how access to this information can influence decisions that people face. This research will help me better understand what information is useful for households that need to make decisions about environmental risks in the future.
You are invited to take part in this study on the value and impact of information about environmental risks. Your participation will contribute to my understanding of the potential value and impact of information on decisions households and businesses face on a regular basis.
What will happen in this study?
- Participants will first answer a short demographic survey that asks your age, gender and highest level of education. You will have the option of selecting ‘prefer not to answer’ to these questions and still participate in the research
- Following the survey, participants will play an online computer game experiment. This game can be played on a computer, tablet or mobile device that is Internet connected. This game has the look and feel of a card game in which a participant sees illustrated cards with text on them. The text will provide information to players, and then the players will make decisions
- In the game, participants play the role of farmers that must plant and sell crops. You will have to choose which crop to plant and on which field to plant it. There is a risk of crop loss that you can manage by seeking forecasts about the likely success of planting a crop on a field. The objective of the game is to plant all crops and maximize profitability of the farm which is reflected in a running game score (‘bank’). The game is played over several turns and should take less than 10 minutes to play
Are there any risks to doing this study?:
The risks involved in participating in this study are minimal. You may feel some disappointment if your score is not as high as you think it should be. Your score will not be shared publicly with anyone, and is not important in our research; rather, it serves to help motivate you to play the game to do as well as you can, and get feedback from your decisions. If you are frustrated by the game, you can close your browser at any time.
Participation in this study is completely anonymous. The database where game data is stored is password protected and data are encrypted when you play the game as well as when the data are downloaded for use in the research.
Are there any benefits to doing this study?
Playing this game will generate useful data for understanding the value of information, but there may be some small direct benefits to participants as well. First, the game is designed to be fun to play, so you may receive some entertainment benefit from participation. Second, the game will expose you to the process of making decisions about risks that involves paying for information in risk management. Some participants may find this process interesting, especially if they have not encountered these kinds of risk management decisions before.
Payment or Reimbursement
There is no direct compensation for participating in this research.
Any information you submit for this study will be confidential. I will not be collecting your name or any information that would allow for you to be identified in the survey or the game. No one will know whether you participated in this study unless you choose to tell them.
All responses are provided online. All data are stored on a private server maintained by me. All data used in this study (all of which is collected anonymously) will be retained indefinitely by me, and shared publicly on my website. This makes it possible for other researchers to scrutinize my findings, and allows myself and other researchers to compare the results to other research findings in the future.
What if I change my mind about being in the study?
Your participation in this study is voluntary and you can withdraw from participation at any time within the game by closing your brower, or by clicking the Quit button. If you choose to withdraw during the game you will have the option of requesting that your data are not used in the research, at which point all the data from the survey and game that you generate will be deleted. However, there is no option to withdraw your data from the project after you have finished playing the game since your survey and game responses are not linked to your identity and you are unidentifiable.
How do I find out what was learned in this study?
I expect to have this study completed by approximately December 2024. Study results will be summarized on this page at that time.
Questions about the Study: If you have questions or need more information about the study itself, please contact me at: email@example.com.
This study has been reviewed by the McMaster University Research Ethics Board and received ethics clearance. If you have concerns or questions about your rights as a participant or about the way the study is conducted, please contact:
McMaster Research Ethics Secretariat
Telephone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 23142
C/o Research Office for Administrative Development and Support
- I have read the information presented in the information letter about a study being conducted by Dr. Niko Yiannakoulias of McMaster University. ∙ I have had the opportunity to ask questions about my involvement in this study and to receive additional details I requested
- I understand that if I agree to participate in this study, I may withdraw any time while playing the game or completing the survey, which will exclude my data from being used in the research. However, my survey responses and game data cannot be withdrawn after completion since they are anonymous.
- I am aged 18 years or older.
- I agree to participate in the study.