How can I learn about the results of this research?

The results will be emailed to all research participants in the form of a short, readable report at the conclusion of the project (anticipated July 2018). If you do not plan on participating but would like to receive the results, please contact us. We will do our best to make research participants and interested parties aware of any publications that result from this project.

Who is eligible to participate in this research?

Anyone who feels that digital technology has played a significant part in their grieving process is invited to participate as a mourner. At this time, we are particularly interested in recruiting the following participants:

  • those who maintain a personal archive belonging to the deceased (a collection of digital data)
  • members of a gaming community who memorialize a person or avatar who has died

          In addition, we are interviewing grief experts as well as people who have developed websites, software, or             apps designed for the bereaved.

What counts as “digital technology”?

That’s an open question. For the purposes of this research, if you think it counts, then it counts.

I live outside the United States. Can I still participate?

Yes, people living outside the U.S. are welcome to participate. Digital technology forges global ties, which is part of what is being explored in this project.

Is there anyone who should NOT participate in this research?

Interviews and follow-up will explore sensitive questions related to grief, loss, and death. If you do not feel comfortable openly discussing such sensitive issues, you may not want to participate. Likewise, if you feel that your emotional stability or wellbeing may be compromised by discussing these topics, please do not put yourself at risk by participating.

Do you have IRB approval?

This research has been approved by the UCSF Committee on Human Research. An approval letter can be sent upon request.

I disagree with the premise of your research.

All the more reason to consider participating! The questions set forth by this research are hypotheses. We want to hear about experiences that disprove these hypothesis as much as those that support them. If you have a personal experience that contradicts the idea that technology can foster connections with deceased loved ones, or that personhood might persist after biological death, or any other aspect of this project, then we want to hear about it.

I don’t want to be interviewed. Is there a survey that I can fill out instead?

At this time there is no survey or questionnaire included in the project.

What will happen to the information that I provide? How will my personal information be protected?

The information gathered from interviews, observations, and analyses of websites may be included in the researcher’s PhD dissertation, which will be made public upon completion. Some of this information may also be used in future publications and presentations.

To protect the privacy of research participants, identities will be kept anonymous and all identifying information will be removed. Research materials will be encrypted and password protected.