Participant Information (Stage 1)

What is the overall aim of the project?

This research study at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge seeks to gather a wide range of undergraduate student experiences of engagement with learning.  We’re particularly interested in hearing from autistic and neurodiverse students, but any undergraduate student at a UK university is welcome to take part. The study is led by Julie Bailey and supervised by Dr Sara Baker.

This first stage of the study involves a small number of autistic students and professionals working closing with autistic students to give feedback on items for a new survey.

What does taking part in this stage of the project involve?

Participation in this stage of the research study involves completing an online survey about aspects of engagement and, for current students, completing a brief interview about a recent learning activity. In the online survey you will be asked about to rate the meaningfulness, clarity and relevance of the word that relate to the experience of learning activities.  This study focuses on your own (or your students’) experiences of engagement with learning activities, and is not about specific lecturers, supervisors, or other people on your course. 

What is the intended outcome of this stage of project?

The outcome of the phase that you are being asked to take part in will be a new measure of students’ engagement with different modes of learning.  This will make it easier in the future to understand students’ experiences of engaging with online and in-person modes of learning.  General findings (not identifying any individuals or courses) will be published, which may help to develop and improve staff awareness and services for students.

The study is not part of the course evaluations that you may complete elsewhere, and it is not part of the student experiences surveys that are collected by universities themselves.  The project is a separate piece of independent research, that will preserve anonymity of all the individuals involved. As such, if you raise concerns about specific experiences on your course, you will not receive a response to these via this survey.  If you wish to have a response to any concerns about your course, you should raise them via the normal reporting routes within your department, college or university. 

The Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, has ethical oversight of the research study. If you would like further information about the procedures outlined here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do I have to take part?

Participation is voluntary, and you will take part only if you give consent. If you decide to participate, you are free to withdraw your consent by simply not completing the survey. Withdrawal from the study removes your information from the data collection and any subsequent summary findings. After this time, your responses may have informed the development of the engagement measure and may be included in anonymised, summary findings. Individuals will not be identifiable from the published findings.

Will the study benefit me?

There are no direct benefits to you of taking part, but your participation is extremely valuable in adding to our understanding of experience of learning at university.

Will my taking part in this project be kept confidential?

All aspects of the study, including results, will be strictly confidential. All data will be identified only by a code, details kept in a separate password-protected file with access only by the researcher and their supervisor. Reports of the study may be submitted for publication and the findings presented at national and international conferences related to this area of research, but individual participants will not be identifiable in such reports. Where an email address is provided, we will only use it to contact you about the present research project. We will not share your email address with anyone else. Addresses will be stored for two years and then deleted from the study.

What if I require further information?

If you have any questions about the study, you are welcome to contact me at If you are experiencing any difficulties with your mental health, have some useful information and resources. This study is supervised by Dr Sara Baker (

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