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Understanding Suspicious Thinking

Participant Information Sheet [14/07/2020]  [Version 2]

Study Title: Understanding suspicious thinking 

Researcher: Olivia Partridge, Trainee Clinical Psychologist

ERGO number: 53616                                                                       

You are being invited to take part in the above research study. To help you decide whether you would like to take part or not, it is important that you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please read the information below carefully and ask questions if anything is not clear or you would like more information before you decide to take part in this research.  You may like to discuss it with others but it is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you are happy to participate you will be asked to indicate your consent.

What is the research about?

Thank you for considering taking part in this research project. I am a Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Southampton and this project will be my Doctorate thesis.  The aim of this study is to investigate suspicious thinking. This study is sponsored by the University of Southampton.

Why have I been asked to participate?

You have been considered as a candidate to take part in this study, as you may be experiencing difficulty trusting others or suspicious thinking.  

What will happen to me if I take part?

You will be asked to complete a demographic sheet and four questionnaires, which should take around 15 minutes.

Are there any benefits in my taking part?

You would be contributing to the evidence base, exploring factors that may influence levels of suspicious thinking. You can also choose to be entered into a draw to win one of three £50 Amazon vouchers.

Are there any risks involved?

The questionnaires have the potential to touch on sensitive topics including the nature of suspicious thoughts and relationships with others. However, these are standardised measures and there are no known adverse effects of completing them. If completing the questionnaires does evoke distress and you require support, please contact your GP or Samaritans (116 123). The number of questionnaires has been kept to a minimum to reduce the burden of participating.

What data will be collected?

The demographic sheet will ask for your gender, age, ethnicity, time since onset of any symptoms of psychosis and whether you have received a formal mental health diagnosis. This will help us describe in general terms who took part in the study and understand the scope of the study’s findings. This information will not be shared with anyone outside the research team. The questionnaires will assess your thinking, feelings and relationships.

If you would like to be entered into the draw for the Amazon voucher, you are invited to provide an email address at the end of the study.

Will my participation be confidential?

Your participation and the information we collect about you during the course of the research will be kept strictly confidential. Only members of the research team and responsible members of the University of Southampton may be given access to data about you for monitoring purposes and/or to carry out an audit of the study to ensure that the research is complying with applicable regulations. Individuals from regulatory authorities (people who check that we are carrying out the study correctly) may require access to your data. All of these people have a duty to keep your information, as a research participant, strictly confidential.

You will be asked to enter your email address if you would like to be entered into the draw for the Amazon voucher. We will separate your email address from your questionnaire responses when we take the first steps in analysing the data, and it will be kept securely on a password-protected University computer. Your email address will be deleted after the draw has taken place. You will not be contacted in the future for follow up.

Do I have to take part?

No, it is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you decide you want to take part, you will need to indicate consent to show you have agreed to participate.

What happens if I change my mind?

You have the right to change your mind and withdraw at any time. If for any reason you decide that you no longer want to take part in the study, all you need to do is exit the study. If you withdraw from the study after completion, we will keep anonymised information about you that we have already obtained for the purposes of achieving the objectives of the study only.

What will happen to the results of the research?

Research findings made available in any reports or publications will not include information that can directly identify you. The results of this study will constitute part of my Doctorate thesis and will be submitted to the University of Southampton and, if appropriate, the findings will be prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

If you would like to receive the results of the study please email me at You will have to provide contact details which will be kept securely and separate to questionnaire responses, and destroyed after the findings have been sent to you.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any further questions, please contact me on

Please note: this email address is not to be used in the case of an emergency, please contact your GP if you require support.

What happens if there is a problem?

If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, you should email who will do their best to answer your questions. If you remain unhappy or have a complaint about any aspect of this study, please contact the University of Southampton Research Integrity and Governance Manager (023 8059 5058,

Data Protection Privacy Notice

The University of Southampton conducts research to the highest standards of research integrity. As a publicly-funded organisation, the University has to ensure that it is in the public interest when we use personally-identifiable information about people who have agreed to take part in research.  This means that when you agree to take part in a research study, we will use information about you in the ways needed, and for the purposes specified, to conduct and complete the research project. Under data protection law, ‘Personal data’ means any information that relates to and is capable of identifying a living individual. The University’s data protection policy governing the use of personal data by the University can be found on its website (

This Participant Information Sheet tells you what data will be collected for this project and whether this includes any personal data. Please email if you have any questions or are unclear what data is being collected about you.

Our privacy notice for research participants provides more information on how the University of Southampton collects and uses your personal data when you take part in one of our research projects and can be found at

Any personal data we collect in this study will be used only for the purposes of carrying out our research and will be handled according to the University’s policies in line with data protection law. If any personal data is used from which you can be identified directly, it will not be disclosed to anyone else without your consent unless the University of Southampton is required by law to disclose it.

Data protection law requires us to have a valid legal reason (‘lawful basis’) to process and use your Personal data. The lawful basis for processing personal information in this research study is for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. Personal data collected for research will not be used for any other purpose.

For the purposes of data protection law, the University of Southampton is the ‘Data Controller’ for this study, which means that we are responsible for looking after your information and using it properly.

To safeguard your rights, we will use the minimum personal data necessary to achieve our research study objectives. Your data protection rights – such as to access, change, or transfer such information - may be limited, however, in order for the research output to be reliable and accurate. The University will not do anything with your personal data that you would not reasonably expect.

If you have any questions about how your personal data is used, or wish to exercise any of your rights, please consult the University’s data protection webpage ( where you can make a request using our online form. If you need further assistance, please contact the University’s Data Protection Officer (

Thank you for taking the time to read the information sheet and considering taking part in the research.


Ticking the box below and continuing with the study indicates you agree with the following:

I have read and understood the information sheet above and have been offered the opportunity to ask questions about the study.

I agree to take part in this research project and agree for my data to be used for the purpose of this study.

I understand my participation is voluntary and I may withdraw at any time for any reason without my medical care or participation rights being affected. I understand that the information collected about me up to the point of withdrawing may still be used for the purposes of achieving the objectives of the study only.