I am looking for current or past users of online groups for people on the autism spectrum to talk to for my PhD research study. My research aims to find out more about autistic people’s experiences of using online groups for finding and sharing information, and their views on how these experiences compare to those in other settings. I hope that this research will help to create better understanding of autistic people’s information needs, and what features they may find helpful or unhelpful when they are using online groups, and in other situations where information is needed or shared.
Information plays a very important part in everyday life, and online groups are known to be an important source of information, as well as support, for many users. Existing knowledge of people’s information needs, and how they look for, share and access information, is based overwhelmingly on research with non-autistic people, which may not reflect autistic people’s needs and experiences. I hope that this study will help to address this gap. The research is being carried out at the University of Sheffield and has been ethically approved by the Information School in the Faculty of Social Sciences.
I would like to hear from any autistic adults aged 18 or over who use, or have previously used, an online group or forum for people on the autism spectrum. This includes people who have used these groups just by reading what is posted there, as well as those who actively post on them. Participants may be either professionally diagnosed or self-identified as autistic. I am approaching several different groups to invite people to take part and hope to hear from around 25 people.
Taking part will involve an informal interview which can take place entirely via email, or via an online video meeting – whichever you prefer. Participation will be completely confidential.
If you are interested in taking part, or want to find out more about it before deciding, you can use the following link to find out more about the study and contact me via a contact form:
You will also be able to ask any questions you may have about it before you agree to take part.
Many thanks for your time,
(University of Sheffield, Information School)