University of Warwick Information Sheet



Researcher name:  Debra Bassett

Supervisors name: Professor Steve Fuller & Professor Simon Williams

Project title: Who Wants to Live Forever? Living, Dying and Grieving in Our Digital Society.


Researcher email:


What is the purpose of the study?  As part of the requirement for PhD at the University of Warwick, I have to carry out a research study. 

The study is concerned with the creation of digital memories and how they are used to discuss illness, dementia, death, dying and living.  I will be looking at how the creation of these digital memories/legacies may be beneficial to those doing the creating.  The study is further concerned with how the promise of digital immortality offered by the Internet may affect the way people grieve.

Why have I been asked to participate? You have been asked to participate because you replied to requests to participate and are suitable to provide data for the study.

Do I have to take part? No, you do not have to take part in this study.  Your participation is entirely voluntary.  You will be asked to sign a consent form, and you will be able to withdraw that consent before the study takes place or at any time during the data collection (the interviews).  You can ask for your data to be withdrawn from the study and destroyed for two weeks after the end of the data collection. 

Will the study be kept confidential? Yes, I will ensure that no clues to your identity appear in the thesis.  Any extracts from what you say that are quoted in the thesis will be entirely anonymous. 

What will happen to the information you give? The data will be kept confidential for the duration of the study.  On completion of the thesis, they will be retained for a further five years in a secure environment and then destroyed. 

What will happen to the results? The results will be presented in the thesis.  My supervisors, and also external examiners will see them.  Parts of the study may also be published in academic journals.

Are there any disadvantages of taking part?  I do not envisage any negative consequences; however discussing issues surrounding digital immortality may include discussions about mortality and grieving. These issues can be emotional to discuss, and it is important to point out that I am not a bereavement councillor and that these interviews are not meant to form part of bereavement therapy - although some people may find the discussions therapeutic. 

What if there is a problem?

When the interview has finished I will ask you how you found the experience.  If you have found the interviews distressing I will be able to provide you with contact details of specialist outside agencies.


Who has reviewed this study? This study has been given ethical approval by University of Warwick, Sociology Department.


Any further queries? If you have further questions about this study please contact:

Debra Bassett



If you agree to take part in the study please complete the consent form attached.