What’s involved?

Why should I participate?

Your experiences and views are important, and they will help us to learn more about how individuals and households like yours manage their money. At the moment, too little is known about how households manage their money or the approaches they use to deal with changes to their income, the rising cost of living, and unexpected expenses that can come up in day-to-day life.

The findings from this project will contribute to important research that could help policymakers, academics and the financial services industry better understand how to support people to improve their financial wellbeing.

What will happen if I take part in the study?

We’ll invite you to take part in two key research activities:

  1. Your household will be paired with a researcher from the Real Accounts research team. Your household will be paired with the same researcher throughout the project. You and your household will meet with your researcher once a month for interviews during the study period – an introductory interview in the first month and then monthly interviews. These interviews will last approximately one hour during which we will discuss your household finances, such as reviewing income and spending from the previous month. We will also use these sessions to hear more about how your household manages money, how financial responsibilities and decisions are managed, and your household’s experiences of work and income.
  2. During this period, we’ll also ask you and your household members to sign up to My Money Tracker, an app which we have developed especially for this project to record income and spending data for research purposes. My Money Tracker records transaction information to build an accurate, long-term picture of household finances. To use My Money Tracker, we will need you to connect your bank accounts and financial products, and this will share data with the research team on all the financial transactions you’ve made in the previous 12 months. The research team will not have access to any of your account details, such as account or card numbers.

We will also ask you to stay connected to My Money Tracker during the six months of the study whilst you’re taking part in the monthly interviews. We’ll also provide you with a journal where you can note down any income or expenses that can’t be collated by the tracker, such as cash income or expenses.

Can I take part online?

Yes, the monthly interviews can take place remotely via video chat or phone calls, or in person somewhere that is comfortable for you. The meetings will be in a confidential environment and at a date and time that is convenient for you.

What about compensation?

Your household will be compensated for the time taken to participate and any expenses incurred as a result of participating. Each month you will receive £40 for participating in an hour-long discussion with a researcher. Additionally, when you connect your accounts to My Money Tracker in the first month, you’ll receive £30. Households will receive payments through the third-party platform Ayda. You will receive instructions on how to register with Ayda at the beginning of the study and a member of the research team will be on hand to help you with this. If other members of your household also connect their accounts to My Money Tracker, your household will be compensated with an additional one-off £30 digital voucher.

What happens if the researcher brings up something sensitive or uncomfortable that I’d rather not discuss?

It’s entirely your choice which questions you choose to answer, and if a question comes up that you’d rather not discuss you can let the researcher know that you’d like to move on. You wouldn’t have to give any explanation or a reason why.

We know that you may feel some discomfort in sharing or reflecting on experiences of your finances, as this may bring up memories of difficult times. In this case, you are strongly encouraged to tell the researcher if you would like to take a break during the interview, and if you feel like participation is causing you any distress at all then you can choose not to continue with the interviews at any time, without having to give a reason.

The researcher will share with you some support services that may be useful if you are looking for someone to talk to as a result of taking part in the research.

What happens if I change my mind about participating during the study?

If you change your mind about taking part, you can withdraw from the study at any point without the need to give a reason or an explanation to the research team. Subject to General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the UK Data Protection Act 2008, you can also withdraw any personal information from the study that has not yet been anonymised. To find out more about how we are using your personal data for this project, please take a look at the Fair Processing Notice which includes more information on how we use your data for this research.

What happens when the research study ends?

The data will be analysed, and findings will be available through written reports, established website reports, the media, presentations, and journal publications. Written reports of the study findings will be shared with you if you are interested.

In accordance with Glasgow Caledonian University’s policy on data protection, and under General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the UK Data Protection Act 2018, your data will not be kept longer than six years after the project’s completion. Anonymised personal data will be kept secure and protected by a password on a project computer. Anonymous research data will be deposited in the UK Data Service Repository. To find out more about how we are using your personal data for this project, please take a look at the Fair Processing Notice which includes more information on how we use your data for this research. If you have any questions about the university’s data protection policy, you can talk to Dr Olga Biosca, a member of the research team, at olga.biosca@gcu.ac.uk or send an email to dataprotection@gcu.ac.uk.