Neurologically-Mixed Couples’ Relationships Research Study

Are you in a long-term romantic relationship in which one of you identifies as Asperger’s or Autistic? If you would like to be involved in research that helps us together to unpick the understandings that you have about romantic relationships that has enabled yours to be lasting, I would love to hear from you.

Here you will find information about participating in my Education Doctorate thesis research. The purpose of the research is that together we will be able to identify the principles that you hold that have helped you to understand and live your couple relationship over time. This study will consider the principles underpinning long term relationships to enable Relationship Educators and other associated practitioners to understand the dynamics of neurologically mixed relationships better and be able to support couples more effectively. It will also add to the current body of academic literature.

If you chose to participate the first step will be to discuss how you would like to tell me the story of what your relationship was like when you first got together and what it is like now, this might be written, in conversation with me, or using images or other ways that you feel comfortable with, such as blogs, collage, diaries, scrap books, artwork etc. This will be called narrative work here as it may not be in words or traditional story form.

There will then be a period of months in which you will be able to construct your narrative work, sometimes individually and sometimes together in whatever way you chose.

As you are the experts on your own couple relationship, I hope that you will be involved with me in the process of analysing your narrative work and deciding which ideas make your relationship work. You will not need to be involved in all the analysis process, but your input will make a big difference in ensuring that your ideas really are represented, rather than just my interpretation of them. I will also give you the opportunity to read my final presentation of your narrative work to check that it accurately represents your thoughts and will make changes in response to your suggestions.

I would like to present this research in an imaginative and creative way, and you can be involved in discussions about this too. Any visual or auditory narrative work may be included in some way if you would like it to be, acknowledging that this may include identifying images of you and, if so, your consent will be sought. All of your narrative work and participation will be considered confidential. It will be kept securely in accordance with Plymouth University procedures. Digital data provided by participants will be anonymised and saved in a password protected University of Plymouth OneDrive file and on a password protected computer and will only be available to my supervisors. Physical data will be kept in a locked cupboard. I anticipate that you would like to be anonymous in the Thesis presentation and this will be respected unless you would prefer to be acknowledged. Data will be deleted or destroyed after 10 years.

The study will form my Education Doctorate thesis which will be a publicly accessible document. The data may also be used to inform articles for publication. All participant contributions will be anonymous and identifying details will be removed, unless as a couple, you request otherwise. A summary of my thesis, will be made available to you if you would like to see it.

You will have the right to withdraw from participating in the research design, narrative collection or analysis at any time and you can withdraw your narrative up until the point that analysis starts. This will not affect your relationship with myself or the Charity MDCFT if you chose to engage with its services subsequently. Digital data will be deleted, and physical data returned to you or destroyed. You will not need to give a reason for withdrawing. You just need to email me to tell me that you would like to stop.

Please feel free to contact me with any further questions,

Kind regards

Vivien Southall

Education Doctorate Researcher

Plymouth Institute of Education, Rolle Building, Drakes Circus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA

(Due to increased working at home, correspondence by email will be the most reliable)