Study Title:  Virtual Communities of Practice:  A Netnographic Study of Peer-to-Peer Networking Support Among Doctoral Students

Researcher: Ila R. Allen

Email Address and Telephone Number:, 847-636-3522

Research Supervisor: Barbara A. Bailey, Ph.D.

Email Address:                       

You are invited to be part of a research study.  The researcher is a doctoral learner at Capella University in the School of Business & Technology.  The information in this form is provided to help you decide if you want to participate. The form describes what you will have to do during the study and the risks and benefits of the study.

If you have any questions about or do not understand something in this form, you should ask the researcher.  Do not participate in the study unless the researcher has answered your questions and you decide that you want to be part of this study. 


The proposed research study is to identify and examine the content, structure, the peer-to-peer interaction and benefits to doctoral learners who belong to a virtual community ( By participating in this study, you will have the opportunity to express your opinions regarding your current or potential involvement with virtual communities of practice (VCoPs) and examine the role of your participation in this group may or may not have on your doctoral journey. 


About one thousand participants will be in this study. 


You are invited to be in the study because you are:

  • Current doctoral student participating in an online support group
  • Member of

All participants will be between the ages of 18-65 years of age.

If you do not meet the description above, you are not able to be in the study.

The researcher is not receiving funds to conduct this study. 

You do not have to pay to be in the study. 


If you decide to be in this study, your participation will last about 15-30 minutes for the online surveys and one hour for the one-on-one interview.


If you decide to be in this study and if you sign this form, you will do the following things:

  • Provide demographic information about yourself, such as your age range, gender, and stage of doctoral process.
  • Complete a survey about your experiences within your institution, peer interactions, etc.


The researcher will audio and/or videotape your one-on-one interview. The researcher will use the audiotape in order to capture the essence of the interview and to avoid errors during the transcription process.

The researcher will only use the recordings of you for the purposes you read about in this form. They will not use the recordings for any other reasons without your permission unless you sign another consent form. The recordings will be kept for seven years and they will be kept confidential. The recordings will be destroyed after seven years.

While you are in the study, you must:

  • Follow the instructions you are given.
  • Tell the researcher if you want to stop being in the study at any time. 


Being in this study will not help you.  Information from this study might help researchers help others in the future. 


No study is completely risk-free. However, we don’t anticipate that you will be harmed or distressed during this study. You may stop being in the study at any time if you become uncomfortable. You should be aware, however, that there is a small possibility that responses could be viewed by unauthorized parties (e.g. computer hackers because your responses are being entered and stored on a web server)


You will not be paid for this study


Your participation in this study is voluntary.  You can decide not to be in the study and you can change your mind about being in the study at any time.  There will be no penalty to you.  If you want to stop being in the study, tell the researcher.


Any information you provide in this study that could identify you such as your name, age, or other personal information will be kept confidential. The researcher is the only individual that will accesses to the participant responses, and all online information received will be kept on a secure password-protected flash drives, and kept secured by only the researcher. In any written reports or publications, no one will be able to identify you.  

The researcher will keep the information you provide in a password-protected computer and flash drive in the researcher’s home, which only the researcher and researcher’s supervisor will be able to review this information.

Limits of Privacy (Confidentiality)

Generally speaking, the researcher can assure you that she/he will keep everything you tell him/her or do for the study private. Yet there are times where the researcher cannot keep things private (confidential).  The researcher cannot keep things private (confidential) when: 

  • The researcher finds out that a child or vulnerable adult has been abused
  • The researcher finds out that that a person plans to hurt him or herself, such as commit suicide, 
  • The researcher finds out that a person plans to hurt someone else,

There are laws that require many professionals to take action if they think a person might harm themselves or another, or if a child or adult is being abused. In addition, there are guidelines that researchers must follow to make sure all people are treated with respect and kept safe.  In most states, there is a government agency that must be told if someone is being abused or plans to hurt themselves or another person.  Please ask any questions you may have about this issue before agreeing to be in the study. It is important that you do not feel betrayed if it turns out that the researcher cannot keep some things private.


You can ask questions about the study at any time.  You can call the researcher at any time if you have any concerns or complaints.  You should call the researcher at the phone number listed on page 1 of this form if you have questions about the study procedures, study costs (if any), study payment (if any), or if you get hurt or sick during the study.

The Capella Research Integrity Office (RIO) has been established to protect the rights and welfare of human research participants.  Please contact us at 1-888-227-3552, extension 4716, for any of the following reasons:

  • You have questions about your rights as a research participant.
  • You wish to discuss problems or concerns.
  • You have suggestions to improve the participant experience.
  • You do not feel comfortable talking with the researcher.

You may contact the RIO without giving us your name.  We may need to reveal information you provide in order to follow up if you report a problem or concern.


By clicking the link below you agree to the following statement:

I have read this form, and I have been able to ask questions about this study. The researcher has answered all my questions.  I voluntarily agree to be in this study.  I agree to allow the use and sharing of my study-related records as described above.

I have not given up any of my legal rights as a research participant.  I will print a copy of this consent information for my records.



Last modified: Friday, 26 July 2013, 7:54 AM