Survey FAQ

 Can I take part in the reader survey if I’m also a romance writer, agent, editor or reviewer?

Yes! As long as you read romance novels you can take part – it doesn’t matter whether you read them for work, leisure, or both. There’s a question in the survey that asks whether you also have any of these other roles.

Has this project received ethics clearance?

Yes, the project was approved by a department ethics lead on behalf of the Liverpool Hope University Faculty of Education Research Ethics Sub-Committee in March 2017.

Is the survey anonymous?

Yes, though you’ll need to leave your email address if you want to be entered in the prize draw. There’s an optional question near the end of the survey that asks you to leave an email address if you might be interested in taking part in later stages of the research. If you don’t leave an email address then we can’t connect the responses to a particular person.

If you leave an email address, it might be possible for the researchers to identify you from that. We’re not interested in doing that though – these (separate) questions are only there so we can make a list of people who might want to participate in later stages of the project, and contact the prize winner. No individual will be identified when we present or share data from the project.

Does the survey software track IP address or use cookies?

No, the software we’re using (Bristol Online Survey) does not use cookies and does not allow researchers to access information about respondents’ IP addresses.

Will the information I provide be kept confidential?

Yes, only the researchers will have access to the information you provide – it won’t be shared with anyone else, and it will only be used for the purposes of this research project.

What if I change my mind about taking part?

When you submit the survey, you’ll receive a completion receipt that includes a unique response number. If you email with that number we can delete the information you provided from the data set to ensure it’s not used going forwards. However, we won’t be able to remove the data you provided from any results we’ve already shared publicly.

What will happen to the information I provide?

Data is stored on servers at the University of Bristol, UK. When downloaded by the research team for the purposes of analysis it will be saved on a password-protected file on a password-protected computer.

How will you use the information I provide?

We’ll use it to gain a better understanding of romance readers’ responses to novels featuring disabled characters. Analysis of the information provided will be published in academic journals, presented at academic conferences, and shared with the romance community via the project website.

Will publications from the project be open-access?

Wherever possible publications will be open-access. Where there are good reasons not to do this, we’ll aim to make a version accessible to a wider audience, or to share the key information via alternative means (e.g. blog posts).

I know someone who’d like to complete the survey, but they don’t have internet access or can’t use a computer. Can they participate?

Yes! Contact us at, or via Twitter @DisRomProject, and we can arrange for a hard copy or alternative format survey to be provided.

What about the language used in the survey? Shouldn’t you say ‘people with disabilities’ rather than ‘disabled people’?

There’s an ongoing debate on this topic. In the UK, disability activists tend to prefer language reflecting the social model of disability, where ‘disabled person’ is effectively shorthand for ‘person disabled by barriers in society’. In the US, some people prefer person-first language, e.g. ‘person with a disability’. However, some people prefer different terminology—for example, an autistic person might find the phrase ‘person with autism’ problematic because they see autism as an integral part of their identity. We’ve used whatever language we felt was most clear for that particular question. All the choices of terminology are underpinned by the belief that experiences of disability are diverse, that the negative assumptions people often make about disability are problematic, and that disabled people still face significant oppression and social barriers.

Why do you ask about how much interaction I have with disabled people, and whether I identify as disabled?

One of the things we’re interested in finding out about in this project is if particular groups of readers respond differently to depictions of disability in romance novels, so we ask about your experience of disability (as an individual, or through family, friends, or employment) so we can analyse this.