Parenting Science Gang Study: The Effect of Children’s Literature on their Social Attitudes

Participant Information Sheet

Thank you for your interest in this research project.

About the study:

We are a group of parents and carers investigating children’s development in relation to reading, and whether books have an effect on children’s social attitudes.

Who can take part:

You can take part in this study if you:

  • Live in the UK
  • Have a child aged between 3 and 7 years
  • Can commit to reading the same book to your child at least 3 times a week for 5 weeks
  • Have a child that would be willing to read/be read the same book at least 3 times a week for 5 weeks

You cannot take part in this study if:

You tested any of the measures on your child whilst the PSG book-group were designing the study (as they will no longer be impartial).​

What will happen in this study?

You and your child(ren) will each be asked to complete a questionnaire at two time points. The children’s questionnaire will be used to examine their beliefs about the kinds of activities and jobs they see other people do in everyday life. Children will need to give verbal consent to answering the questions. The questionnaire which you will be asked to complete will ask some demographic questions and some attitude questions.

Following the completion of these two questionnaires, you will receive instructions on how to claim a book that will be sent to you free of charge. Reading this book with your child is a vital part of the study, as we are looking at the effect it may have on children’s social attitudes.

Therefore, you must read the book to your child at least 3 times per week for 5 weeks.

It is important that you read the book without changing any of it, including names, genders or occupations of the characters. You should also avoid explanations, questions or discussion so that each participant follows the same procedure. This is important for experimental validity.

If your child is able to read, they may read the book themselves, but you should supervise them to ensure they are reading it all.

You do not have to read the book at a specified time, as long as you read it at least 3 times a week. You can also continue to read your child other books during this time. After 5 weeks, you and your child(ren) will be asked to complete one final questionnaire each. Please be as honest as possible when responding to the questions at both time points.

To avoid writing your names anywhere, you will be asked to create two six-digit participant codes; one for you and one for your child. Steps on how to create these codes will follow. When you complete the questionnaires for the second time, you will be asked to enter your participant codes again so that both sets of answers can be linked together. So it’s very important that you write these down and store them somewhere safe!

Any personally identifying information will be stored confidentially in line with GDPR guidelines. The data will only be accessed by the researchers conducting the study. If the findings from the study are written for publication, only group-level trends (not individual scores) will be reported, so your answers will not be identifiable.

Asking questions

If you have any questions before, during, or after the study, please feel free to email the Parenting Science Gang at

Withdrawing from the study

Your decision to participate is completely voluntary and you may withdraw from this research at any point during or after the study, without giving a reason or explanation for doing so.

If you wish to withdraw your or your child’s data at any time, please email Dr Lauren Spinner at, quoting your participant code.

If you have any ethical concerns about the study, please contact Sarah West at .

If you wish to withdraw from the study, you will still be able to keep the book that you have been provided with.

What are the possible disadvantages or risks to taking part in this study?

You will not get to select the book that is sent to you to read with your child. Although all books will be published fiction, widely available in bookstores, and age-appropriate for the children taking part in the study, they may not necessarily be books that you would usually choose to read, or in line with your social attitudes.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

  • You may gain new insight into your own child’s social attitudes.
  • You will get to keep the book that you have been sent.
  • You will be contributing to important research assessing the role of children’s literature in attitude
  • development. The findings could have important theoretical and applied implications.

Anonymity and Confidentiality

If you consent to take part in this project your data will be linked to the participant code you have provided. No identifiable information will be taken. Only authorised Parenting Science Gang staff and researchers will have access to the data.

Data storage and retention

All data will be stored in line with GDPR guidelines. Data will be pseudo-anonymised, meaning you will only be identifiable by a participant code, not your name. Data will be stored securely on an encrypted hard drive and password-protected shared folder; only selected members of the Parent Science Gang and the research team will have access to the data file. Data will be stored for a minimum of three after the research project, in line with university policies. It will then be destroyed if the data has been published within that time frame.

This research project has been approved by the University of York’s ethics committee.

If you have any questions before, during, or after the study, please feel free to email the Parenting Science Gang at