My name is Anne Webster; I am the chief researcher for this project. I am a PhD scholar from the School of
Sociology at the Australian National University. Thank you for considering your involvement as a participant.
The aim of this study is to examine the question of the adoption of newborn babies from a sociological
perspective, with a focus on the birth mother. This research moves beyond the antagonism of the pro-life and
pro-choice debate to holistically consider under what circumstances adoption could be considered a legitimate
choice in unwanted pregnancy. This project is designed to address three broad research questions. These are:
How do the negative and positive depictions of adoption and adopting-out influence a pregnant woman who does
not wish to parent? What circumstances are required for a pregnant woman who does not wish to parent to
consider adopting-out as a legitimate option? What influence does the state have on the choices made regarding
As a participant in this research you are being asked to contribute in either a focus group or an in-depth interview
to provide your views on the issues and challenges facing pregnant women who do not wish to parent and
consider adopting out as a option.
Birth mothers who have adopted out in the last 15 years are invited to participate in in-depth interviews if they
think they chose to adopt-out and were not coerced. Other members of the Australian community have also
been invited to participate in a focus group. The focus groups will consist of people with various backgrounds ,
gender or age or professions. Nonetheless the discussion is intended to be open and include all issues individuals
may see as relevant.
At the completion of the project findings may be presented at relevant conferences and published in appropriate
academic journals.
All the responses that you provide will remain confidential, as far as the law allows, and will only be used for the
purposes of describing the key reflections, perceptions of challenges and possible future directions for adoptingout policy and practice in the future. At all times your anonymity will be safeguarded. No individual will be
identified as the source of any comments or opinions in any report, presentation, or publication of these research
results. No individual will be identified with personal details in the description of this research.
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Your participation in this research is voluntary. You do not need to answer any question either in the focus group
or in the in-depth interview unless you wish to do so.
The time commitment for focus groups is for two sessions, each lasting 90 mins. For participants agreeing to indepth interviews, there are two sessions and each are expected to last no more than 90 mins also.
Withdrawal of consent
You are also free to withdraw your participation in this research at any time until four weeks after the focus group.
A ‘Withdrawal of Consent’ form Appendix IV is provided should you wish to use this, however you may also choose
to email or phone to withdraw your consent. If so, the data you provide will not be used if you as a participant
The conduct of this research involves the collection, access and / or use of your identified personal information.
The information collected is confidential as far as the law allows, and will not be disclosed to third parties without
your consent, except to meet government, legal or other regulatory authority requirements. A de-identified copy
of this data may be used for other research purposes. However, your anonymity will at all times be safeguarded.
Data Storage:
The researcher will also take notes and these written comments will be stored in a locked filing cabinet at her
home. Only members of the research team will have access to these notes. Recordings of the interviews will take
place on an audio device and this data will likewise be stored on the researchers own personal computer under
password security lock. Privacy will be maintained throughout the collection, analysis and preparations of results
and will be kept for at least 5 years after publication.
Queries and Concerns:
If you have any further queries or concerns about the research please contact the researcher or her supervisor
(contact details are below).
Though the researcher is a trained social worker, it is not appropriate that she provide counsel and therefore the
following information is provided. If you experience any level of distress through the research process, support
can be found at:
Lifeline at 13 11 14;
Adoption services such as Catholic Care Footscray, Melbourne on (03) 9689 3888;
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Post Adoption Support Services in Adelaide on (08) 82458100.
ANU Counselling service on (02) 6125 2442 or
Latrobe University counselling service on (03) 9479 2956.
Ethics Committee Clearance
The research will be conducted in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research
and by a qualified social worker. If you have any further concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the
research project you should contact
Human Research Ethics Committee Contact:
Human Ethics Manager
Office of Research Integrity,
Research Services,
Ground Floor, Chancelry 10B
Ellery Crescent,
The Australian National University
Acton ACT 0200
Telephone: 02 61253427
Email: [email protected]
Chief Investigator:
Anne Webster
Contact Details:
email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0407 873 291
Dr Joanna Sikora
Contact Details:
School of Sociology
CASS Research School of Social Sciences
Haydon Allen Building No 22
Room 2167 College of Arts and Social Sciences
Australian National University Canberra,
ACT 0200 Australia
email: [email protected]
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telephone: +61261254574
fax: +61261252222
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