Letter of Information

STUDY: User Theories of the Spotify Music Streaming and Recommender System

Michael Ridley, Ph.D. Candidate

Dr. Jacquelyn Burkell
Faculty of Information and Media Studies
Western University

The study is to determine how users of Spotify, a music streaming and recommendation system, think the system makes its personalized recommendations. 

You are eligible to participate in this study if you meet the following criteria: You use the Spotify music recommendation system and reside in Canada or the United States.

You are asked to participate in a survey and a follow-up interview using Zoom (or another communications system). The survey should take approximately 10 minutes. The follow-up interview should take approximately 30 minutes. Should you choose to participate you may choose to abstain from any questions you wish not to answer. During the survey and interview you will be asked to answer a series of questions regarding your use of Spotify and how you think it makes its recommendations. 

Participants will be asked to answer based on their own experiences and views on decisions made about their person and may experience some discomfort. You are not required to answer and questions for any reason, including discomfort. 

Participants may gain insight into what information is used by recommender systems. We will gain insight into how people think recommender systems work. This information could be useful when helping to explain recommender systems for the purposes of transparency, accountability, and trust. 

You will be compensated $25.

Some study data may be made available to journals and/or other researchers. Only your anonymized data will be shared.  Any other information that is obtained in connection with this study, and that can be identified with you, will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission.

Only the student researcher, Michael Ridley, and the thesis supervisor, Jacquelyn Burkell will have access to the survey data.

The survey and interview data and other study data will not have any information identifying you and your name will not be used anywhere in the study or documents resulting from the study.  All identifiers will be removed from study data.    The interview will be audio recorded. Only the student researcher, Michael Ridley, the thesis supervisor, Jacquelyn Burkell, and Transcript Heroes (a transcribing service) will have access to the audio recording. Once the interview has been transcribed the audio recording will be destroyed. The transcription of the interview discussion and other study data will not have any information identifying you and your name will not be used anywhere in the study or documents resulting from the study.  All identifiers will be removed from study data.  A study number will be assigned to each participant and linked via a master list to your name and any other identifying information.  The master list will be kept and stored separate from the other study data. Michael Ridley and Jacquelyn Burkell will have access to all of the research data. Study data will be stored on the Western University server and may also be store on encrypted, password protected devices. The master list containing participants names will be stored separately from other study data.

No one else will have access to research data except for representatives of The University of Western Ontario Non-Medical Research Ethics Board who may require access to your study-related records to monitor the conduct of the research. The data will be destroyed after 7 years.

Your participation in this study is voluntary. You may decide not to be in this study. Even if you consent to participate you have the right to not answer individual questions or to withdraw from the study at any time. We will provide you any new information that may affect your decision to stay in the study.

You do not waive any legal right by acknowledging this consent form.

You may withdraw from the study at any time until findings have been submitted for publication.  Any related data that has not been anonymized and aggregated will be removed and destroyed.

De-identified personal quotes may be used in the findings of this study. Please indicate in the following question if you consent to the use of your de-identified quotes.

Data may be used in subsequent studies, in publications, and in presentations.

WHOM TO CONTACT FOR QUESTIONS?Michael Ridley, Student Researcher
Email: mridley2@uwo.ca
Phone: 519-837-7660

Dr. Jacquelyn Burkell, Thesis Supervisor
Email: jburkell@uwo.ca
Phone: 519-661-2111 x88506

If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant or the conduct of this study, you may contact The Office of Human Research Ethics (519) 661-3036, email: ethics@uwo.ca.