Data Usage

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Data Usage and Participant Information

Below you will find information about how The Lothian Diary Project will use your data. If you are aiding a child, young person, or vulnerable adult, this information should be read to the other person and they should be asked if they understand what taking part involves and that they are happy for you (parent/guardian/carer) to consent on their behalf.

We follow the University of Edinburgh data privacy guidelines, listed here:

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at

Yes, this project has been approved by the ethics committee of the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Science, University of Edinburgh.

The study will involve you making an audio or video recording, uploading it to our website, and answering a 20-minute survey about yourself and your experiences during social isolation.

You can skip any questions that you do not feel comfortable answering, but the portions of your survey that you do complete will still be used in analyses unless you decide to withdraw from the study.

For ideas about what to include in your audio/video diary, you can have a look at our Participate page.

The results of this research will be written about in academic papers and books, discussed on social and public media outlets, and written up for policy reports. Your name will never be used, unless you want it to be. No one will ever be able to identify you from the words you say, unless you want people to know who you are. However, someone who knows you and hears or sees the recording that you submit might be able to identify you, and so for your protection, we will never play your contributed recordings on the TV, radio, internet, or public events, unless you tell us that you want us to. We would like to play parts of your recordings when we teach our students, or present our research findings in private, off-line contexts, but we will ask you to tell us whether or not you want us to.

All the information we collect over the course of this research will be handled in a way that respects Data Protection Law. All data will be held indefinitely on the DataVault platform, provided by the University of Edinburgh (

If you’d like to remain anonymous, then we will store recordings and descriptions separately from any details that would make it possible for other people to identify you personally (like your name or email address). If you’d like people to know your identity, then that’s fine too. We will make sure that the information we gather is safe by using a storage service our university provides.

That’s completely fine! Just mark the option for that on the consent form (at the beginning of your online submission) and we’ll make sure that your contribution is not viewed by anyone outside of the research team.

We will need some details from you to confirm your consent to use your data, and to pay you for participation, but these details will be stored separately and securely from the rest of your data.

You will choose who sees or hears your diary. You can choose for it to be seen or heard only by the research team. If you choose to allow others to see or hear it, then it might not be anonymous, because your face or voice might be recognised by someone. But you also don’t have to mention your name in your recording, and you don’t have to show your face (e.g. you can record only audio, or a video of something else, with added voiceover.)

Finally, any presentation of your survey answers will always represent you anonymously, unless you choose to ask us to identify you.

The University of Edinburgh is known as “a Data Controller” for the information you provide. You have the right to access any information that is held about you. You can exercise this right in accordance with Data Protection Law. You also have other rights including rights of correction (if you think there is an error), erasure (if you want your information thrown away), and objection (if you disagree with something).  To correct, erase, or object, simply email us at For more details, including the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, please visit Questions, comments and requests about your personal data can also be sent to the University Data Protection Officer at

To thank you for participating in our study, at the end of the survey you will be offered £15. Funding comes from research team members and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

There are three options you can choose form.

  • We can pay you via bank transfer (we would need your bank details in order to do this).
  • We can send you a £15 voucher for a local business of your choice.
  • We can donate your £15 contribution to the charitable organisation of your choice.

In addition to your thank you payment, by sharing your experiences with us, you will be helping our research team, and the University, to better understand the Edinburgh and Lothian communities’ experiences during the COVID 19 pandemic. Among other things, this may help stakeholders such as charity partners and the Scottish Government understand how to better support community members.

We understand that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a stressful and upsetting time. By taking part in this project, you may be prompted to reflect on some difficult or painful experiences that you may have had during the pandemic. 

If you begin to feel distressed as a result of taking part in the study, you can visit our Support page, which contains a list of resources and organisations that may be able to provide help. 

If you choose to make your name, face, voice, or identity public, you should be aware of the privacy risks inherent to that choice.

For example, if you choose to allow your audio/video diary to be used for research or teaching purposes (e.g. in academic presentations), if people who know you are in the audience, they may be able to identify you.
If you allow your audio/video diary to be made publicly available, and we post it online, then it may appear in web searches for that name.
You will have the option to control how you would like your data to be used, who you would like us to make it available to, and how you would like us to refer to you. If you have further questions about the risks involved in taking part, please do get in touch with us at  

If, at any stage, you no longer want to be part of the study, please inform us by emailing If you do withdraw from the study, your data will be destroyed and will not be used in data analyses. Because your data may be used in the production of formal research outputs (e.g., journal articles, conference papers, theses and reports) prior to your withdrawal, you are advised to contact us at the earliest opportunity if you want to withdraw from the study. At the end of the data collection period (31st July 2021) we will delete your email address, to ensure anonymity, so after this point it will not be possible to withdraw your data.

The results of this study may be summarised in published articles, reports and presentations. Quotes or key findings will always be made anonymous in any formal outputs unless we have your prior and explicit written permission to attribute them to you by name.

The immediate project goal is to understand the impact of Covid-19 social distancing and stay-at-home policies on residents of Edinburgh and the Lothians. There are a lot of other questionnaire-style surveys being done on this topic, but these can’t really capture the full picture and may not be able to cover issues that are important to people. Our analysis of your recordings, together with your survey answers, will help answer questions about how individuals respond to a stay-at-home order: who struggles, how, and why? What factors help an individual’s well-being during lockdown? Based on the results of this study, we will write a report offering recommendations for policymakers and practitioners on how lockdown orders could be implemented effectively.

Quite a few of us are also specifically interested in how people speak and what that can tell us about communities in Edinburgh and the Lothians. The diary project is part of Edinburgh Speaks, which is exploring how accent and dialect features express and construct speakers’ identities and attitudes. With your help, we can better understand how our communication is changing, particularly now that we’re mostly communicating through computers and phones.

If you participated prior to April 2021, you had the option of choosing for your diary to be contributed to an oral history collection housed with Museums & Galleries Edinburgh, as part of their permanent historical record of Edinburgh during the coronavirus pandemic. For further information on their wider collections head to the M&GE website:

The study has been organised by Dr Lauren Hall-Lew. The study has been supported financially by the University of Edinburgh’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) College Research Office; an ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant awarded to the University of Edinburgh (grant reference ES/T50189X/1; the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences’ Knowledge Exchange and Impact Office; and the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences. This work was supported in part by the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Natural Language Processing, funded by the UKRI (grant EP/S022481/1) and the University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics and School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences.

If you have any questions about what you’ve just read, please feel free to ask, or contact us later. You can contact us by email at This project has been approved by PPLS Ethics committee. If you have questions or comments regarding your rights as a participant, they can be contacted at

The University of Edinburgh is a Data Controller for the information you provide. You have the right to access information held about you. Your right of access can be exercised in accordance Data Protection Law. You also have other rights including rights of correction, erasure and objection. For more details, including the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, please visit Questions, comments and requests about your personal data can also be sent to the University Data Protection Officer at