Remote Participant – Consent

Title of Research Study: Investigating Transgender Status Disclosure Across Online Dating Platforms (STU00207661)

Investigator: Professor Jeremy Birnholtz

Supported By: This research is supported by Northwestern University and the National Science Foundation, grant #IIS1617387.

Key Information About This Research Study:

The following is a short summary of this study to help you decide whether to be a part of this study. Information that is more detailed is listed later on in this form.

The purpose of this study is to better understand how transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals use dating and hookup apps for self-presentation and to meet people, and how they choose between platforms for different purposes. You will be asked to answer a series of questions and complete two questionnaires afterward. We expect that you will be in this research study for at least 60 minutes and no longer than 90 minutes. The primary risk of participation is that some of the topics we explore might be upsetting to discuss. The main benefit is that you may find that talking through these issues helps you understand yourself a little better.

Why am I being asked to take part in this research study?

We are asking you to take part in this research study because you are a regular user of dating or hookup platforms that is of interest to us, are over 18 years of age, and have self-identified as transgender or gender-nonconforming.

How many people will be in this study?

We expect about 20 people will be in this research study.

What should I know about participating in a research study?

  • Someone will explain this research study to you.
  • Whether or not you take part is up to you.
  • You can choose not to take part.
  • You can agree to take part and later change your mind.
  • Your decision will not be held against you.
  • You can ask all the questions you want before you decide.

What happens if I say “Yes, I want to be in this research”?

After you consent to be part of this study, you will participate in an interview via video conferencing. The interview will last between 60 and 90 minutes. First, you will be asked about your gender and sexual orientation. Then, you will be asked to write a list of the dating/hookup websites and apps you use. You will then be asked to reflect on your behavior and experiences, both now and in the past. You will then be asked some basic demographic questions, fill out two short questionnaires, and be paid for your time.  Additionally, your answers to the initial screening questions you have been asked will be retained and added to the basic demographic data.The interview will be video recorded, and we will keep the list you wrote of what websites and apps you use for future reference. Agreement to be recorded is a required part of participating in this study.

Will being in this study help me in any way?

We cannot promise any benefits to you or others from your taking part in this research. However, possible benefits include a better understanding of your own dating platform behavior.

Is there any way being in this study could be bad for me?

In the interview, will be talking about your own past behavior on dating platforms, which may include some past behavior that, reflecting on it today, you may find embarrassing or uncomfortable. There is a very small risk that your identity will be revealed as the video recording of your interview is professionally transcribed. There is also the risk that confidentiality could be breached if information is intercepted on the Internet, or that the interview could be overheard by somebody nearby.

What happens if I do not want to be in this research?

Participation in research is voluntary. You can decide to participate or not to participate.

What happens if I say “Yes”, but I change my mind later? 

You can leave the research at any time and it will not be held against you. We can end the interview at any time. Just let me know if you want to do this. If this happens, I will ask you if any data collected up until that point may be used in the research.

What happens to the information collected for the research?

Efforts will be made to limit the use and disclosure of your personal information, including research study and interview transcripts, to people who have a need to review this information. We cannot promise complete secrecy. Organizations that may inspect and copy your information include the IRB and other representatives of this institution.

What else do I need to know?

Compensation: If you agree to take part in this research study, we will pay you $25 via Paypal for your time and effort. You will still receive this compensation even if you choose to end the interview early.

Who can I talk to?

If you have questions, concerns, or complaints, or think the research has affected you in some way, talk to the research team at:

Jeremy Birnholtz
Department of Communication Studies
(847) 467-3688

Julia Fernandez
Media, Technology, and Society Program
(312) 561-6349


This research has been reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (“IRB”). You may talk to them at (312) 503-9338 or if:

  • Your questions, concerns, or complaints are not being answered by the research team.
  • You cannot reach the research team.
  • You want to talk to someone besides the research team.
  • You have questions about your rights as a research participant.
  • You want to get information or provide input about this research.