This online community is part of a research project, being conducted by Neil Morris, a PhD student at the University of York, which is researching the role an online community in a local area can play in terms of supporting people who either care or work with people with learning disabilities. It is expected that the online community will continue after the research has been completed.

The information below will explain about the research. Please read the information below carefully before you decide to become a member of the online community.

What is the purpose of the research?

The research is trying to find out what effect being involved in a local online community has on people who either care or work with people with learning disabilities. It is also looking at what impact members of the community believe it has on the people with learning disabilities they support. The research is also identifying the key elements of successfully establishing and maintaining such a local online community.

To date, it has involved:

  1. interviews;
  2. focus groups;
  3. workshops;

with potential members of this online community.

We have established this online community, together with some of the now members, as the next part of the research.

The next stages of the research will include:

  1. online surveys;
  2. further face to face interviews;
  3. a focus group;

with members of this online community.

Why participate in the online community?

There will be opportunities online to discuss issues, obtain information and to receive, and give, support on any issue related to people with learning disabilities. There will be a focus on local issues which people are facing here in Oxfordshire.

Being a member of this online community will bring you in contact with other people who either have a member of their family who has learning disabilities, or who work with people with learning disabilities, or who have another interest in supporting people with learning disabilities.

The online community will continue to exist after the research has been completed if members would like it to.

By taking part in the online community you also will be contributing to the understanding of such online communities.


Any information you disclose within areas of the online community which are accessible to all members may be used in the research. Such information will not be used in any way that could identify you individually.


All your personal information will be kept securely in line with the University of York’s policies on dealing with personal information and the Data Protection Act. Details of these can be found at: As part of the University’s policy on Academic Integrity, the data generated from the research will be kept securely for 10 years.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

The overall results of the research will be written up in articles for publication, including academic journals, and in my PhD thesis. They may also be used in presentations about the research at conferences and other meetings.

Funding of the study

This is an independent unfunded piece of research that is being done as part of my PhD studies at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York. The research has been approved by the Department’s Ethics Committee.

What should I do if I want more information or would like to take part?

If you would like further information about this research or if you would like to share your experiences of being involved with this community, or if you would like to share your reasons of why you have chosen not to be involved with this online community, please contact me (Neil Morris) by email on [email protected] or by telephone on 01865 600043.

You are also most welcome to speak to one of my PhD Supervisors at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York. Their names are Dr Ian Buchanan (email [email protected]) and Dr Andrew Hill (email: [email protected]). Both can be called on 01904 32 1231.

Thank you

Thanks for taking the time to read this information and considering its contents.