Hello, polyamory.com members,
I’m a graduate student researching couples; I'm studying at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Myself and the two other researchers involved in this study are looking for individuals who are 18 or older, and who have been in a relationship for at least 3 months, to participate in an online study. The focus of this study is people’s thoughts and feelings about their own personalities and relationships. We are hoping to gather responses from people in different types of relationships and from different communities. Here is a link to the study:
and our Facebook research page:
For further information about our goals and intentions, I include the following:
(The TL;DR version is that I am extremely committed to conducting research in a respectful manner, and am very interested in any feedback you might have for improving our methods. There are places for feedback in the survey.)
This study has been approved by the University of Tennessee IRB Board, and our goal is to present our research findings in peer-reviewed settings, both scientific conferences and scientific journals. I believe an important part of being an ethical researcher is to do one’s best to gather feedback from participant communities, particularly if said communities often experiences stigma and misconception. Our survey has an opportunity to provide feedback on the study, and I will compile said feedback and post it here for the use of future researchers, as well as try to disseminate it in other appropriate venues. Hopefully, this will help reduce the number of times you have to repeat the same feedback. In addition, I will return here throughout data collection to answer whatever questions I can answer before the data collection phase of the study is finished, and respond to feedback. I will also post a summary of my findings here, once the data is collected and analyzed.
Couples research has improved over the years, in terms of including different types of relationships. Unfortunately, almost exclusively, the relationships studied are heterosexual or same-sex, assumed to be relatively ‘mainstream’ and monogamous (with the sometimes exception of gay men’s relationships, which says something about the research community’s assumptions in and of itself). When relationships are compared and contrasted, it is almost always done so on the basis of traits like sexual orientation or ethnicity. Other relationships, for example: poly, kink, transgender, and/or asexual relationships, are rarely given attention in the couples literature. This means that virtually nothing is known ‘scientifically’ about some groups, and ideas based on ignorance continue to proliferate.
I believe that research has been a part of same-sex relationships receiving more tolerance and acceptance in mainstream culture, and I believe it could serve the same role for other types of relationships (although undoubtedly slower than it should). Obviously, this is a long and involved process, but I do see it starting to gain momentum, as evidenced by the number of researchers soliciting research participants here. I hope to participate in that effort. This study is only a small part of that, and, as a first study, has a limited scope, but I hope it will be a building block for future studies. Due to our location, going to the local poly community for research participation and feedback is less feasible than in other areas. Thus, I am turning to the internet, and hope that in doing so, I am not being intrusive in your community.
Primary Investigator: Maria Rowley, M.A. contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristina Coop Gordon, Ph.D, contact info: email@example.com