Ethics and Data Protection


Of course, we hope that you have great fun engaging with this project. However, for anyone concerned about the handling of personal information, please be assured that every precaution has been taken in the planning of this project to respect and protect the identities and sensitivities of those involved.

All personal data will be collected, stored, and managed in accordance with the latest UK Data Protection regulations coming into force from 25th May 2018.

The information gathered will be used for the purposes of Lucinda Murphy’s doctoral thesis, and any resulting publications and/or projects. Stories included in the research will be anonymised as far as is possible by the use of pseudonyms, whilst sensitive personal information will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and discretion, remaining strictly confidential if requested.

Participants are able to withdraw their consent at any time. In this event, their data, alongside any explicit reference to them will be eliminated as far as is possible.  However, participants must be aware that information and/or media may continue to appear in publications/media already in circulation.

Any photography/video/audio recording conducted as part of this research will not take place without the prior written consent of the photographed/recorded subject and/or parent/legal guardian. Unless further written consent is requested, any subjects included in such media will not be identified using names and/or personal identifying information. This media will be the copyright and intellectual property of Durham University. It will be used only for the purposes of Lucinda Murphy’s doctoral thesis, any resulting reports and/or publications, and for written and online publicity promoted on behalf of the research and/or communities involved. Photographs/recordings will not be posted on online and/or social media forums without the express permission of those involved.

All electronic data will be stored securely in encrypted files on a password protected computer, and encrypted external storage device, and will not be passed on to any third parties. This will include any contact details collected for the purposes of contacting interviewees and obtaining any necessary photographic/recording permissions. Any personal contact details will be destroyed five years after the completion of the research.

Observations from each of the field sites will be recorded by hand in a paper journal and stored securely in a locked cabinet when not in use. The same will apply for any other paper documents such as consent forms and recording devices which may contain personal data.

Any party commenting or contributing to the research via public online forums such as this website and/or social media remains responsible for their own outputs, as per regular use of these sites [please see / ]. Participants are asked to remain respectful of the views of others in such forums. Any data outputted by participants in these forums is of course by its nature already public information. Nevertheless, in order to respect the intellectual property of all those involved, further written consent will be obtained in cases where there is a desire to republish the public comments of others in an alternative forum.

The conclusions of Lucinda’s research will be made openly available on this online forum, and to each of her research partners as it appears in her thesis. Any raw data such as  field notes, questionnaire responses, and interview transcripts will, however, remain private and securely stored in a locked cabinet/encrypted files. Any participant will however be entitled to request a copy of their interview transcript.

It is recognised that, for some, reflecting on the role of Christmas in their lives may bring up some sensitive topics which you may wish to explore further with someone at one of the following helplines:

Samaritans [free 24-hour helpline offering a safe place for you to talk any time about whatever’s getting to you] – 116 123

Childline [free 24-hour helpline for children and young people] – 0800-1111

The Silver Line [free 24-hour helpline for older people] – 0800 470 8090

Cruse National Helpline [free helpline offering a listening ear and emotional support to anyone who has lost someone they love, or been affected by a bereavement] – 0808 808 1677

Community Christmas [Community Christmas believes that no elderly person in the UK should be alone on Christmas Day unless they want to be. The charity works to support, guide, and advertise community events in the lead up to Christmas. To find out more, please see – 0800 063 9285

If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, please feel free to get in touch with Lucinda to discuss this through personally at