Babies in research- would you?

(28 Posts)
Bella13 Mon 15-Oct-12 14:48:22

Hi all,

I am just posting because I am interested in doing my university dissertation on how infants see the world and am struggling with recruitment.

The research is non-invasive and simply involves filming the babies on a little camera to see what they look at but the minute I say "research" people worry.

What do you think is the best way to approach this? Would you feel comfortable allowing your baby to take part and why or why not?

There are many baby labs across the UK and recruitment is difficult for all of them (I can give you their names if you are interested) and they are all looking at topics that will improve our understanding of the way babies learn and develop. I just want to find a way to reach mums/ dads to explain the benefits of the research and put their minds at ease.

Hope you can help!

DoJo Sat 06-Jul-13 00:58:19

My son was in a study when he was about 2 days old and we were still in hospital, and has been in two psychological studies since then, once for a DVD of him undergoing the test and once for nowt. I take part in training/studies wherever I can too and I like the idea that we're contributing to the furthering of our understanding of the world.

notcitrus Tue 30-Oct-12 08:28:18

Forgot to say ds did get to be in a flu jab trial as a baby, which I would expect to be a lot harder to recruit for. I was only comfortable with it thanks to knowing a lot about flu as used to work next to the lab doing 1918 flu research, and with colleagues who were experts in vaccines and their usual effects. And they offered follow-up health checks on my pfb for a year.

He had no side effects whatsoever, which made completing my paperwork a bit boring - measure the mark where the needle went in - invisible by day 2!

For undergrad stuff it would depend on the exact activity and the benefits to me - dd getting to play with some new toys, fine, get wired up or jabbed, less so. Me getting free trip to London and nice biscuits, deciding factor (compare how TV shows always have people from NI and rural areas overrepresented, as they are up for the free travel. Though my friends regretted getting Kilroy to pay their travel from Edinburgh to London)

MrsHoarder Tue 30-Oct-12 04:07:55

Ds is in a clinical trial, which I can see a clear purpose for and hourly gives him a health benefit (I am t happy it is as safe as the normal guidance).

I wouldn't be keen for him to do something which is just for an undergrad dissertation and not for very clear benefits for him or for babies in general. Afraid the quality of your dissertation is not enough reason for me to drag him through a research environment.

Bella13 Tue 23-Oct-12 13:12:19

Notcitrus, it is great that you have booked in for research! I hope you enjoy it, let us know how it goes! And yes, will defo butter up some PhD students :p

Nigglenaggle I can understand that people worry about their babies being filmed- it just depends whether you can trust the institution. They will have to hold the data securely for ethical approval and I'm sure you can ask for the footage to be destroyed as soon as the data is collected or something like that.

And yes Edith is right, ethics do not help the recruitment process they simply approve the study so you have to fly solo- aaaa!

I really like the idea of having a baby sitter provided, I am sure that would make the process simpler for a lot of people- will pass that on to my supervisor!

EdithWeston Mon 22-Oct-12 08:57:13

The ethics people will, have cleared the experiment as ethical. They are unlikely to be able to help in recruiting babies for the studies.

Nigglenaggle Sat 20-Oct-12 21:34:08

As the mum of a PFB I would worry about him being filmed I think. Its the permanence. I would know I was being a little bit overprotective, but that wouldnt stop the paranoia!!

fraktion Fri 19-Oct-12 23:17:06

I would do this. I offered DS up as an observation baby for mother-child interaction and all sorts through uni. Noone wanted him sad

I suspect it may be a familiarity with research which makes it easier for academics.

notcitrus Fri 19-Oct-12 23:06:44

Baby dd is now booked in for experimenting on in a couple weeks! It so happens to be a subject vaguely related to what I used to research, so I'm really excited (plus a free trip to town)

Apparently they would have been OK to provide a babysitter with my older child in another room - knowing that was a possibility would probably really encourage more people to sign up. And ads in the same sorts of cafes that baby classes and stuff are advertised in - maybe give every parent who comes to the lab a couple flyers and ask if they could put them up somewhere next time they visit somewhere appropriate? Or get all your PhD students to put ads up - what else are they for?! [been there...]

Surely your ethics people will have the answer to this?

EdithWeston Thu 18-Oct-12 15:49:51

My DCs have played at been research subjects at Birkbeck too.

And one of them also got to muck around with participated in a university student's research project. That was recruited via her big brothers' nursery. Might be worth seeing if you can recruit that way; it doesn't carry the same implications as recruiting via HCPs, and if you find a non-chain one and charm the manager, they might be very helpful in putting the word out to their parents.

Bella13 Thu 18-Oct-12 15:43:52

Thank you all for your comments they are really helpful!

Leftwingharpie: yes it is an undergraduate dissertation, but taking place at a baby lab so it will be overseen by very experienced infant researchers.

Most baby research does not have the funding to pay fees unfortunately but they can usually provide tea and biscuits! And almost all research keeps people anonymous so that should not be a problem.

It is so nice to hear that some of you have already taken part in research- usually the first time is quite daunting!

Nancerama mentions that her studies were advertised by her GP which is interesting, because the institutions I am looking at are not allowed to approach health care facilities for ethical reasons. We will be mostly flyering in towns/ through nurseries and play groups- do you think this will be as effective?

We will work on getting the application and advertising smart-phone compatible, that is a really good idea! And yes we advertise around the uni so maybe babies of academics are overrepresented! I will make sure I keep a tally of recruitment to see if this is the case, just out of interest really!

For those of you that are interested in research, there are baby labs all across the UK (I do not know where I will be based yet, hence the vague location) but some of the best labs are at Surrey, Sussex, Birkbeck and Oxford! There are others too that I can’t remember, so give them a google, e.g. search “Birkbeck baby lab” or whichever one is closest to you!

They mostly won’t be able to do home visits because of the equipment they need but it is so worth it. Last year the Surrey Lab did a colour preference study so you could find out what your babies fave colour was during the research- so cute!

I will definitely be taking my baby (when he/she arrives) to a lab! Thanks for the tips- if you have any more ideas let me know they are really helpful!

Thank yooou!

mercibucket Mon 15-Oct-12 22:38:40

Yes, I also wonder that, notcitrus

mercibucket Mon 15-Oct-12 22:38:40

Yes, I also wonder that, notcitrus

horsebiscuit Mon 15-Oct-12 22:36:50

That's interesting that you say recruitment is difficult for all babylabs. That surprises me. People on maternity leave are often really bored and also really interested in their babies- ideal fodder for babylabs. I suspect you're advertising in the wrong places- plus word of mouth will help too- get people to recommend to their friends! Babylab Birkbeck does a fantastic job of sorting your travel, fawning researchers, clean and modern surroundings with lots of toys etc, free T shirt and certificate after, newsletter with results, Polaroid photo of your baby in etc. Very slick. Would recommend to any parent to join their list.

notcitrus Mon 15-Oct-12 22:25:26

Saying 'studying how they do' implies watching them and sounds less scary; research implies an Experiment to see if something bad happens or not when you do X.

I've signed dd up for the Babylab at Birkbeck but no invites yet. Would have been easier if the application forms were smartphone compatible. Could you put fliers in the dreaded Bounty packs, or visit local Children's Centres - any 'educational' talk is welcomed at ours.
And plug the supply of biscuits and say if older siblings can come watch.

I do wonder if babies of geeks and scientists are hugely overrepresented in studies - when I had ds in a flu vaccine trial most of the babies belonged to doctors and scientists.

I

My DS was part of a teaching study for first year medical students from before birth to about 4 months old. It was fascinating!

onedev Mon 15-Oct-12 22:21:30

People nor Peoria -iPhone correction confused

onedev Mon 15-Oct-12 22:20:36

I'd be interested for my children as I'm keen on that kind of thing (would have secretly loved to do my PhD had money allowed at the time) but I've never been approached. Where are these things advertised?

I think if its phrased in how it will benefit children/society or whatever & if its non-invasive then Peoria wouldn't be put off. Obviously expenses would need to be covered also. Good luck.

mercibucket Mon 15-Oct-12 22:19:20

Do you advertise it round the uni? I'd have thought students/lecturers with kids would be an easy sell, also nct. I did it with my kids, also linguistics as they grew, they used to enjoy going

mercibucket Mon 15-Oct-12 22:19:17

Do you advertise it round the uni? I'd have thought students/lecturers with kids would be an easy sell, also nct. I did it with my kids, also linguistics as they grew, they used to enjoy going

crackcrackcrak Mon 15-Oct-12 22:14:05

Dd1 has been going to Plymouth uni baby lab since she was about 5 months. The v first time I let them put wires all over her head! She gets to choose a gift as a reward (t shirt/cap/bag) and is given a balloon and a certificate. She loves it and it doesn't phase me at all. Happy to be involved really!
I will be signing up dd2 when's she's born in next few weeks as apparently they have all new gifts grin
You can film my baby if you want of you're anywhere near me?

notanotter Mon 15-Oct-12 22:12:29

please do PM me with details - i'd love it!!

nancerama Mon 15-Oct-12 22:11:08

I'm involved in 2 trials with DS. One with Oxford university and one with Reading university.

The Oxford one was advertised via our GP regarding vaccinations. I was initially reluctant to get involved because of the fear and controversy around vaccinations. After reading the proposal properly, I was fine with it.

The other is to do with child language development, and was advertised on my local NCT Facebook page.

Both studies are done by appointment at my home after necessary checks and legal documents are in place.

My DD was involved in a research trial from birth to 6.
I gained nothing but the satisfaction of knowing that the trial may lead to greater understanding of the effect of medication on the unborn child.

housesalehelp Mon 15-Oct-12 22:05:48

I did it with my baby -it was non invasive - and he was fine with it- my DH worked for a large univerisity at the time which is how I found out about - and I have a Phd so keen on research - I got about 20 pounds and a cute t shirt for my ds -it was easy to register my interest and then I got emailed with a suitable oppertunity. I don't know how you get away from the research on babies thing sounding bad though- if you can give examples of how the type of research you do helps children that might help

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