The following information provides a detailed description of what the Wellness Project @ Wycliffe entails as well as what will be expected from you should you wish to participate. Please read the information carefully so that you can make an informed decision about taking part. Once you have read through the information below and are ready to participate, please fill out the form on this page. If you wish to further enquire about the study, please feel free to contact us using the form on the left.
Who is responsible for this project?
Dr. Wanda Malcolm is a professor at Wycliffe College, and the person with overall responsibility for the project. She is also a registered clinical psychologist who has been involved in social science research for over 15 years. Beth Fisher Adams is the Project Manager. She is currently a PhD student at Emmanuel College, completed her M.Div. at Wycliffe College (2016), and has an undergraduate degree in English Literature. Karen Coetzee is our Statistics Specialist. She has an M.A.in Developmental Psychology and Education, specializing in assessment and measurement as well as an undergraduate degree in Educational Psychology.
The Wycliffe Wellness Project is supported by research funds from the Beatty Ryckman Trust who have an arm’s length relationship with this project.
How are you gathering information?
Information for this project is being gathered in two ways; by online questionnaires and one-on-one conversations with participants who wish to discuss their Ministry Life Assessment and Discernment (MLAD) Report. Participants start by completing a set of questionnaires designed to gather information about:
- Demographics like type of ministry, denomination, years of experience, age, gender, level of education, marital status and so on
- The aspects of ministry life participants find most positive, meaningful or satisfying
- The aspects of ministry life participants find particularly negative, demotivating or stressful
- Perceptions of effectiveness in ministry.
- General health
- The ways in which the stresses and strains of ministry may be impacting overall wellness
Once a participant’s questionnaire data has been submitted, they will have the option to receive a Ministry Life Assessment and Discernment (MLAD) Report. They will also be invited to have a conversation with a member of our team about this report. Under no circumstances will an individual’s MLAD Report ever be made available to anyone other than the individual to whom it pertains. Participants may complete the questionnaires and decline the invitation to receive an MLAD Report and conversation. Similarly, we will be asking participants to complete the questionnaires more than once over the coming years, but participating now does not obligate someone to future participation.
What are the potential risks and benefits of participating?
Many participants have said that they appreciated being invited to reflect on and describe their experience of ministry life. The study is designed to be both interesting and respectful. Nonetheless, participants have the right to decline to answer a question or questions and will not be pressured to give more information than they wish. The study is intended to benefit the church as a whole by providing information and insight about the stressors and satisfiers of ministry life. It is also intended to benefit people in ministry by influencing seminary training, continuing education and support programs for people in ministry. In addition, it is our intent that participants personally benefit from their involvement in the study by being given the opportunity to have a conversation with a member of the research team, and by receiving a confidential report based on the information they provide.
What happens with the information collected by the project?
In order to better understand how people in ministry experience both continuity and changes over time, we intend to carry out a qualitative analysis of the information gathered from the one-on-one conversations we have with those who choose the option of receiving an MLAD Report. For that purpose, we may from time to time ask participants for their written permission to record our conversations with them. Should a person be asked for permission to do this, he or she will always have the right to decline our request.
We also carry out statistical analyses of the relationships among a number of different factors that may have an impact on the quality of ministry life. Data from the study will be entered into a database. Under no circumstances will that data be shared with a third party. If a reason arises to request the use of archived data for a different study, participants’ consent will be sought with a guarantee that they are under no obligation to give permission for their data to be involved in a subsequent study. The results of our analyses will be reported in statistical and narrative form. No individual participant’s questionnaire information will be reported in its entirety or in isolation from the rest of the data. Any narrative information drawn from a feedback conversation will be reported in such a way that it is impossible to identify the author of the information.
Under no circumstances will an individual’s MLAD Report ever be made available to anyone other than the individual to whom it pertains. The findings from this study will be published on the project website and may also be submitted to an appropriate scholarly journal for publication. Results may also become educational information for classroom lectures, continuing education seminars, or presentations at professional conferences. Participants have perpetual access to the project website where study results will be published, and will be notified when new information is posted on the website. The website will also provide information about journal publications and conferences where the findings of the study are reported.
Is participation obligatory?
Participation in the Wellness Project @ Wycliffe is entirely voluntary and those who agree to participate may withdraw from the project at any time. Furthermore, if we receive a written request from a participant asking that their interview recording/transcription and questionnaires be removed from the study, the request will be promptly honoured. However, if a withdrawal from the project comes after a phase of data analysis has taken place, it will not be possible to remove a participant’s data from the analysis, and only their archived interview recording/transcription and questionnaires will be removed.
How are participants' privacy and confidentiality protected?
Our website gives participants the option of conveniently completing the research questionnaires online with the same level of privacy and security as online banking. In addition, once participants have signed the Informed Consent Document, they will be given a unique User ID and password, and from that point forward no identifiable information will be associated with the questionnaires completed online. If a participant prefers to work with paper copies of the questionnaires, they may request that a set be mailed to them with a pre-stamped and addressed return envelope. A record of participants’ names and User IDs will be securely stored separate from the data until 5 years after their last date of involvement in the project, at which point names and User IDs will be deleted from our system.
Completed questionnaires and interview recordings/transcriptions will be stored electronically by User ID in encrypted form. None of the material will carry participants’ names, and interview transcriptions will use generic phrases like “location of ministry”, “spouse” or “name of colleague” in place of information that might otherwise permit identification of the participant. Interview voice recordings will be destroyed when transcription is completed or within 5 years of the recording date, whichever comes first. Paper copies of questionnaires will be shredded when the data has been entered into the database or within 5 years of receipt, whichever comes first. If participants request that their interview or questionnaire material be removed from the study, they will be provided with a signed statement affirming that we have complied with the request.
Data will be reported such that it is not possible to identify individual participants. If there are less than 5 participants in a demographic category, the category will be listed as “other.” All members of the research team have signed a nondisclosure agreement indicating that they understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality and that they are willing to abide by the terms of the nondisclosure agreement.
Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns?
General inquiries are welcomed, and may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Specific questions about involvement in the Wellness Project @ Wycliffe should be directed to Dr. Wanda Malcolm by email to email@example.com or phone 416-946-3535, ext. 2557.
Concerns about Dr. Malcolm’s conduct are to be directed to the Principal of Wycliffe College, Bishop Stephen Andrews by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 416-946-3535.
Registered participants may also contact the Office of Research Ethics by email to email@example.com or phone 416-946-3273 in regard to their rights as a research participant.