Research Opportunity

Research Opportunity

NUI Galway students are welcome to participate in a short student-led and student-designed research study in spring 2020.


Participant Information Sheet:                     

Research study Information:                                                          

The Meaning of Volunteering among students in NUI Galway



Principal investigator and Data Controller: Stephanie Murray

Principal investigator’s title: Occupational Therapy Student, 4th year, NUI Galway

Email of principal investigator:

Data Controller’s/joint Controller’s Identity:  Stephanie Murray and Dr Sinéad Hynes

Data Controller’s/joint Controller’s Contact Details:

Main researcher: Stephanie Murray Email:

Research supervisor: Dr Sinéad Hynes Email:

Data Protection Officer’s Identity: Data Protection Officer, The Quadrangle, NUI Galway

Data Protection Officer’s Contact Details:


Thank you for your interest in this study.


My name is Stephanie Murray and I am a final year student here in NUI Galway, studying Occupational Therapy. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to take part in my final year research study ‘The Meaning of Volunteering among college students in NUI Galway. The study will commence on the 1st of December here in NUI Galway.

Before you decide whether or not you wish to take part, please read the information provided below. Take time to ask questions – don’t feel rushed and don’t feel under pressure to make a quick decision.

You should clearly understand the risks and benefits of taking part in this study so that you can make a decision that is right for you. This process is known as ‘Informed Consent’.

You don't have to take part in this study. If you decide not to take part, it won’t affect your future volunteering opportunities.

You can change your mind about taking part in the study any time you like.  Even if the study has started, you can still opt out.  You don't have to give us a reason.  If you do opt out, rest assured it won't affect your volunteering opportunities with ALIVE.


Why is this study being done?

We know that NUI Galway is Ireland’s leading university for student volunteering with more than 4,000 registered volunteers. Each year thousands of students sign up to the ALIVE programme, volunteering with over 450 organisations, availing of hundreds of community experience opportunities. I am interested in finding out why.

I am asking the question - what is the meaning and value of volunteering occupations/activities for the college student population who participate in them?

In occupational therapy, an occupation refers to the everyday activities that people do as individuals and within communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to their life. Occupations include things people need to, and want to, and are expected to do.

This study aims to explore Volunteering as an occupation. This study aims to understand the meaning of volunteering among students at NUI Galway, by gaining insight into the nature, function, benefits and challenges of volunteering.


Who is organising this study?

The study is a small project being completed by me, Stephanie Murray, from the discipline of Occupational therapy in NUI Galway. The study is supported by NUI Galway and the ALIVE volunteering organization at NUI Galway.


Why am I being asked to take part?

You have been asked to take part in this study because you are a volunteer with the ALIVE organization at NUI Galway.


You can take part in this study if you are:

- An active volunteer

- Are a student at the National University of Ireland Galway

- If you are a volunteer on a more casual scale, volunteering now and then.



Unfortunately, you cannot take part in this study if you are:

- Under 18 years

- Cannot speak English


What can I expect if I agree to take part?

If you agree to take part in the study the following steps should be taken as follows:

  1. Contact the main researcher (Stephanie) via email or phone to express interest in the study
  2. I will ensure that you have read and agree to all information presented on this document.
  3. I will ask you to sign an informed consent form, detailing that you are aware of, and agree to, the terms of the study.
  4. I will then arrange to meet with you to conduct a short interview. The location for interview will be on the NUI Galway campus in Aras Moyola, Occupational Therapy Department.
  5. Once the interview is over, I will store all audio recordings of the interview under password protection to ensure confidentiality.


What if I do not want to take part?

You are free to decline to take part in this study. You are free to start the study and then withdraw at any time. This will not affect your volunteering opportunities with the ALIVE organisation.


Interviews & Audio-recording

You will be invited to take part in a short interview. The interview will be recorded with your permission. The interview will be written up word-for-word by the researcher, and you have the right if you wish, to review or change these written transcripts. The recorded interview will then be stored under password protection ensuring confidentiality. It will only be stored for a short time until it is typed up. After that time the audiofiles will be deleted.


How many participants are needed for the study?

The researcher of this study hopes to recruit a target number of 10 participants. However, in the case where new information is no longer arising following a number of interviews, recruitment will cease and your application to participate in the study will no longer be required. If this situation occurs, the researcher will inform you of this via email and thank you for your application.


What are the benefits for me in taking part?

You will help Occupational Therapists to understand the occupation of volunteering and its benefits and challenges.


What are the risks?

Time: The interview will last approximately 30-40 minutes.

Sensitive topics/personal information: Throughout the interview, topics such as ‘the influence of personal history on volunteering choice’ will be discussed. This may be upsetting for some individuals.


What do I need to know about confidentiality?

It is important that you know that:


  1. The main researcher of this study is not concerned with, or will be looking for, any medical notes etc
  2. Data/ information gathered in the interview will only be seen by the main researcher and the study supervisor
  3. Audio-recorded information will be stored in the Health Science Department in NUIG under lock. Only the main researcher and supervisor will have access to this.
  4. Results of this study will be documented in my final year thesis that will be disseminated to the Occupational Therapy Department. No individual will be identified in this.


What do I need to know about data protection?

It is important that you understand how your personal information will be gathered and used for this study. We are required by law to give you all this information before you make up your mind about whether to take part in this research or not.


  1. Why do you need my personal information? We need your personal information (name, phone number/email, student number) to ensure that a) you are a student at NUIG, b) you can be contacted to arrange meeting point for interview and c) if you wish to withdraw from the study we need to know these details to ensure we have withdrawn the correct individual.
  • We are using your information under two legal bases as defined by the General Data Protection Regulations 2016: Because we feel this study is important for scientific research (Article 9(2)(i)) and because we feel the information you provide could be important for the public interest (Article 6(1)(f))
  1. Who will have access to my information? Only the main researcher Stephanie Murray and the study supervisor Dr Sinéad Hynes will have access to your information.
  2. How long will you keep my information?  Your personal details e.g. name, phone number etc. will be deleted in May 2019, when all results have been written up. We will keep the transcripts of the audio recordings, for a period of 5 years. But you will not be identifiable from these.
  3. Can I withdraw? You can withdraw from this study at any time without giving a reason. (If you withdraw while the study is going on, your data will be deleted. However, if you wish to withdraw at a later date, we will not be able to delete your data because it will be mixed with that of other people). You can contact the researcher at or if you have questions about this.
  4. What are my rights?
    1. You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner if you are dissatisfied.
    2. You have the right to request access to your information e.g. a copy of your interview transcript. However, once these have been made anonymous (once they have all been collected and written up in May) participant details will be detailed and it will not be possible for us to know which transcript is yours. 
    3. You have the right to restrict or object to processing of your information. But this would make it difficult for us to complete this research.
    4. You have the right to have any inaccurate information about you corrected or deleted. For example, you have the right to look over and edit the transcript of any interview with you.
    5. You have the right to have your personal information deleted. And your personal information WILL be deleted as soon as all the information is collected and compiled with that of other people participating in the research.
    6. You have the right to ask for any of your information in a readable format.
  5. How will you use my information?
    1. There will be no automated decision-making or profiling of your personal information in this study. This means that we will not use your personal data to make any predictions about you.
    2. Your information will not be processed for any other reason than for this study. And it will not be transferred to any other country or organisation.
    3. Your information will be held on a password-protected file storage system. Only the researcher has access to this.




Consent to Future Use:

The information you give in this study will be held anonymously for a period of up to 5 years in NUI Galway. All identifying details will have been deleted from this information.


Where can I get further information?

If you have any further questions about the study or if you want to opt out of the study, you can rest assured it won't affect your volunteering opportunities in NUI Galway.

If you need any further information now or at any time in the future, please contact:


Name: Stephanie Murray

Academic Supervisor:  Dr Sinéad Hynes    

Address:  College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Discipline – Occupational Therapy



Support Services:

Contact details for participants that wish to avail of services:

Disability Support Service:

Address: Access Centre, Room AUC-1004, First Floor, Aras Ui Chathail, NUIG


Phone: +353 (0) 91492813

Counselling Service:

Service is open during term time Monday to Friday 2-4pm

Address: 5 Distillery Road (best to come early as we can get very busy and we see a maximum of 12 people during drop-in).

Phone: 091 492484


Student Health Unit:

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday. Mornings: 9.15am - 12.30pm.  Afternoons: 2.30pm - 4.30pm.

Phone:  091-492604

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