Participant Information Sheet

tasoThe Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO) - Evaluation of multi-intervention outreach

We would like you to take part in a research study. 

Before you decide if you would like to participate, take time to read the following information carefully and, if you wish, discuss it with others such as your family, friends or colleagues.


What is the purpose of the study?
  • This study will explore the efficacy of university outreach as a widening participation activity by measuring the impact of the Pathways programme at Aston University.

  • We want to find out if students who take part in the programme are more likely to go to university, and to study particular subjects.
Why have I been chosen?

You are being invited to take part in this study because you have applied for a place on the Pathways programme. Everyone who applied and meets the eligibility criteria for the programme has been invited to participate in our research.

What will happen to me if I take part?
  • Because there are a limited number of places on the programme, not everyone who wants to attend the Pathways programme will be able to

  • Among eligible students, Pathways programme places will be randomly allocated to individuals, meaning that all eligible students have an equal chance of getting a spot.

  • Even if students don’t get a spot, we are inviting them to be part of our research project.

  • All students who applied to the programme will be asked to complete up to three short online questionnaires, once during the Pathways application process and then while they are in Year 12 and Year 13. The questionnaire will focus on hopes and feelings about university.

  • Aston University will contact students by email to invite them to complete the questionnaires online.

  • The questionnaires should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

  • All students, whether they got a place on the Pathways programme or not, will be asked to complete these questionnaires.

What other data will be collected?

  • We will match the questionnaire data with other student data provided as part of the Pathways programme application process. This data will include:
  • Name (to match-up survey responses)
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Postcode
  • Date of birth
  • Postcode-level markers of disadvantage (home and school address)
  • School name and location
  • Whether anyone in the family has been to university
  • Predicted grades
  • Have a disability or are in receipt of a personal independence payment
  • Currently in receipt of a means tested (i.e. 16-19 bursary)
  • Has been in receipt of free school meals at any point over the last three years
  • Care leave or have experience of being looked after by a local authority
  • Come from an underrepresented group (Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities, refugees, children of military families 
  • Your data will be linked to information provided by a tracking service the university is using. If you have already provided the information in the box above to the university and it is recorded on the tracking service we will collect that information from the tracking service.

  • For longitudinal tracking purposes, we (or the tracking service) will match your details to data held by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to see whether you progress to higher education in future, where you go and what you study.

  • Collecting and linking the data means we can work out if the programme has been effective and we can measure differences between the different groups of participants (for example, by gender).

Student postcodes will be matched to a number of socioeconomic markers which tell us more about the area in question – including the level of education, employment and deprivation. The markers will include ACORN, POLAR and IMD. Individual postcodes won’t be collected.

The tracking service is called the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT).

  • All the student data listed in the box above, including your name and predicted grades, will be shared with the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes (TASO) who will be involved in analysing the project outcomes. TASO is currently a team based within King’s College London but will soon become an independent charity. TASO will match your name, postcode and date of birth to information in the government’s National Pupil Database to extract data on your attainment at Key Stage 4 and 5 which is linked to information on whether you progress to higher education in future, where you go and what you study. This information will also be linked to administrative versions of all of the data outlined in the box higher up this page, where they are available on the National Pupil Database. TASO are doing this to collect richer and more reliable data on students taking part in the research so that they can provide a fuller understanding of whether the programme has been effective.

  • We are analysing these data for research purposes and participation in the project will not mean you are more likely to get a place on the Pathways programme or that you receive favourable treatment when applying to future outreach activities or university.
Do I have to take part?

No. If you do not wish to take part then you should opt out by contacting Prof Liz Moores or tel: 0121 2044070) and stating clearly that you wish to opt out of this study. You can do this at any time, even after the Pathways programme has started. Opting out will not affect your place on the Pathways programme or influence in any way any admissions decisions made by Aston University. Other staff at Aston University will not know whether or not you have opted out of this research.

If you are not sure whether or not to take part, need more information before you make your decision, or have questions or concerns about taking part that are not answered below, then please contact Liz Moores.

Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential?

Your contact details will only be used if the researchers need to contact you to arrange study visits or collect data by phone.

Within Aston your personal data will be stored in coded form to maintain confidentiality. We will transfer your name and predicted grades to TASO by secure means and TASO will use this information only for the purpose of the study.

The data we collect will be stored in a secure document store (paper records) or electronically on a secure cloud storage device.

To ensure the quality of the research, Aston University may need to access your data to check that the data has been recorded accurately. If this is required, your personal data will be treated as confidential by the individuals accessing your data.
What are the possible benefits of taking part?

As a thank you, details of all those taking part will be entered into a draw to win one of 3 Love2Shop vouchers worth £100 each.

There are no other direct benefits to you from taking part in this study, but the data gained will help us understand whether the Pathways programme is effective and help the University deliver the best possible support for young people in future.

Participating will not mean you receive favourable treatment when applying to future outreach activities or to university.

What are the possible risks and burdens of taking part?

You will be asked to participate in some surveys about your hopes and feelings about university. These surveys won’t take long to complete.

What will happen to the results of the study?

The data and results from the study will be shared with the organisation providing funding for this study. This organisation is affiliated to the Office for Students, which is the independent regulator of Higher Education in England.

The results of this study may be published in scientific journals and/or presented at conferences.  If the results of the study are published, your identity will remain confidential.

A summary of the results of the study will be available for participants when the study has been completed via Aston University’s website.
Who is funding the research?
The study is being funded by the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes (TASO). You can find more information at TASO.
Who is organising this study and acting as data controller for the study?
Aston University is organising this study and acting as data controller for the study.  You can find out more about how we use your information in Appendix A.
Who has reviewed the study?
This study was given a favorable ethical opinion by Aston University Research Ethics Committee.
What if I have a concern about my participation in the study?
If you have any concerns about your participation in this study, please speak to the research team and they will do their best to answer your questions.  Contact details can be found at the end of this information sheet.

If the research team are unable to address your concerns or you wish to make a complaint about how the study is being conducted you should contact the Aston University Research Integrity Office or telephone 0121 204 3000.
Research Team

Prof. Liz Moores

Tel: 0121 204 4070

Thank you for taking time to read this information sheet. If you have any questions regarding the study please don’t hesitate to ask one of the research team.


Appendix A

Aston University takes its obligations under data and privacy law seriously and complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”). 

Aston University is the sponsor for this study based in the United Kingdom. We will be using information from you in order to undertake this study.  Aston University will process your personal data in order to register you as a participant and to manage your participation in the study.  It will process your personal data on the grounds that it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e).  Aston University may process special categories of data about you which includes details about your health.  Aston University will process this data on the grounds that it is necessary for statistical or research purposes (GDPR Article 9(2)(j)).  Aston University will keep identifiable information about you for 6 years after the study has finished.

Your rights to access, change or move your information are limited, as we need to manage your information in specific ways in order for the research to be reliable and accurate. If you withdraw from the study, we will keep the information about you that we have already obtained. To safeguard your rights, we will use the minimum personally identifiable information possible.

You can find out more about how we use your information by seeing our data protection webpage or by contacting our Data Protection Officer.

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter. If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data in a way that is not lawful you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

When you agree to take part in a research study, the information about you may be provided to researchers running other research studies in this organisation and in other organisations. These organisations may be universities, NHS organisations or companies involved in health and care research in this country or abroad.

This information will not identify you and will not be combined with other information in a way that could identify you. The information will only be used for the purpose of research, and cannot be used to contact you.