Purpose of this study
The Saitsa Student Board of Directors has specifically set out a goal to examine student mental wellbeing at SAIT. Their official policy is that they want to ensure that students are maintaining a sense of overall wellbeing throughout their academic career at SAIT. We want to ensure that student needs are being met. Therefore, the purpose of this research study is to determine how students are feeling about their mental wellbeing on the SAIT campus, what services they are using from both SAIT and Saitsa, and what they would like to see, or rather, need to see in the future to take care of their mental wellbeing on SAIT’s Campus.
You are being asked to participate in this study because you are a student at SAIT, and identify as either: a domestic student, an international student, an LGBTQ2S+ member, or a student member of SAIT’s Aboriginal community.
There will be approximately 8-10 people in each focus group, and a maximum of 40 participants for focus groups. Each focus group session will be no more than 90 minutes.
Please note the following dates and times for our focus groups:
1. LGBTQ2S+ Students: Thursday November 4th, 4:00pm Online (via Teams)
2. International Students: Thursday November 10th, 4pm Online (via Teams)
3. First Nations-Inuit-Metis Students Sharing Circle: Thursday November 24, 4:30pm Chinook Lodge
4. Domestic Students: Thursday November 17th, 4pm Online (via Teams)
Study and Procedures
Method of data collection for this study will be focus groups. Focus groups are group discussions with people who know something about the topic of interest (in this case student mental wellbeing at SAIT). Focus groups are ways of finding out people’s thoughts and ideas about a specific topic.
There will be a facilitator who will ask the questions and keep the discussion moving. Each focus group will be facilitated by one of the student researchers under supervision of Saitsa’s Research Coordinator.
Saitsa’s Research Coordinator will be attending the session as an observer to ensure the session is run smoothly, and to intervene in the case of student distress. Saitsa’s Administrative Assistant will also be attending the sessions to take detailed notes of the discussion. These notes will be part of data analysis at a later date.
Each session will be recorded, and transcribed. All transcribers will be under an oath of confidentiality and will not share your information with anyone else.
Prior to the start of the session each person will be given a demographic form to fill out that will also contain their identification number. The identification number is to ensure your privacy and any information you share will be connected only with that number, and not your name.
All data will be kept private and confidential on a secured laptop. Your data will be kept for no more than 12 months after completion of the project, at which time it will be deleted.
Risks & Discomforts
There are no anticipated physical risks to participants. Focus group members will be asked to keep the information provided to the groups confidential; however, a potential risk that might exist for some would be that information about you might be discussed outside the group by other participants and be traced back to you.
You also have the right to withdraw from this study at any point, no questions ask. If you must withdraw from the study please contact Nicole at: Nic.MacInnis@edu.sait.ca
There are some potential risks to you by participating in this research. It is possible that talking about mental wellbeing might be emotional, embarrassing, or stressful. Staff members will be available if you feel like there is anything that has come up for you during the focus groups, and appropriate referrals can be made, if necessary.
Being a focus group member may not help you directly, but information gained may help other students on the SAIT campus who are having mental wellbeing issues in the future. Additionally, the information may help guide other institutions on the current situation of students in Canada, particularly from a Polytechnic perspective.
There is no cost to you to attend the Focus Group discussion.
We will do everything possible to keep your personal information confidential. Your name will not be used at all in the study records. A list of names of participants and emails will be kept in a secure file so we can send you a summary of the results of the study. If the results of this study are presented in a meeting, or published, nobody will be able to tell that you were in the study.
Please note that although you will not be identified as the speaker, your words may be used to highlight a specific point. The collection and access to personal information, and any health information you may choose to share, will be in compliance with the Tri Council of Canada for Ethics in Research.
During the focus group we ask that all participants respect and maintain the confidentiality of the discussion; however, it is not possible for the researchers to guarantee that everyone will do so. Recording of the group discussion, and notes taken during the discussion, will be typed up and used to prepare a report. The recordings, and notes, will be kept no longer than 12 months after the completion of the study. At which time they will be destroyed. Typed notes, and other paper, will be kept in a locked file cabinet in the Saitsa Governance and Advocacy office and only accessible by Nicole MacInnis, and Sunra Sunra.
All digital data is kept on a Saitsa provided laptop, encrypted, and password protected to maintain your privacy.
Permission to Quote
All information on your identity will be kept confidential and any quotes used will be used by providing a pseudonym for you (a fake name will be attributed to you in any reports).
Voluntary Participation/Withdrawal from the Study
Your decision to take part in this study is voluntary. You may refuse to participate, or you may withdraw from this study at any time up to the point of data analysis. You may only withdraw up to the point of data analysis, because the data will have been anonymized at this point and there would be no way to tell your information apart from others we cannot withdraw you after we start analysis. Your participation or discontinuation in this study will not constitute an element of your academic performance nor will it be a part of your academic record at SAIT.
By signing here you acknowledge the following:
1. I have read all four pages of the consent form.
2. I have had a chance to ask questions and have received satisfactory answers to all of my questions.
3. I understand that by signing this consent form I have not waived any of my legal rights as a participant in this study.
4. I understand that my records, which may include identifying information, may be reviewed by the research staff working with the Principal Investigator and the agencies and organizations listed in the Confidentiality section of this document.
5. I understand that I may withdraw from the study at any time and my data may be withdrawn prior to publication.
6. I understand I will be provided with a copy of the consent form for my records.
7. I agree to participate in the study.