The OTW Events Calendar for May includes a call for participants for a survey by researcher Lucy Neville. Here Lucy gives some more background about this survey and the research it will be used for.
I am a Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Middlesex (this is me: www.mdx.ac.uk/aboutus/staffdirectory/neville.aspx – you will find an overview of my qualifications, research interests and links to previous open-access research reports). I am also a writer (and appreciator!): of prose, poetry and slash (this is me: pouxin.livejournal.com/ – if you want to read any more of my writing, please send a friend request). I am currently carrying out an academic study into women’s involvement in sexually explicit m/m slashfic and gay erotica/pornography more generally. I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to complete the below survey.
What’s the research for?
The purpose of this research (both earlier focus groups I conducted and the survey) is to gain a better understanding of what appeals to women about (male) homosexual erotica, and how this sits within their wider thoughts and feelings around romance writing, erotica, pornography, gender and sexuality. As such, from a slash perspective, it is specifically looking at women who produce and/or consume explicit m/m slash. I see this very much as an exploratory piece of research, and have no expectations per se as to what I might ‘find’, I am just very interested in hearing about the diversity of experiences people have had, and their own reflections on their enjoyment of homosexual erotica. I think this is a very nuanced and complex area, and I don’t expect to find any ‘one size fits all’ theory at the end of this. But I would like to produce a piece of research that can act as a stepping stone towards a better understanding of how and why women interact with gay erotica, and, hopefully, will reflect a lot of your own experiences back at you, offering an opportunity for interesting future discussion.
For a detailed description of how I came to do the research and what my research philosophy is, please see this post.
Who is the questionnaire for?
The questionnaire is open for both readers and writers of male homosexual erotica. I am interested in exploring all forms of gay erotica, from m/m slashfic with a sexual content, to wider gay (male) erotic literature, and gay (male) pornography. Some questions will only be applicable to respondents who are either readers or writers (or both), so if a question does not apply to you (e.g. you do not write fic, only read it, and the question is asking you about writing), please leave it blank.
This survey is specifically interested in looking at women’s production and consumption of gay erotica, pornography, and m/m slashfic with a sexual content. As such it is only open to those who identify as women. However, if you’re a man involved in the slash community and you would be interested in sharing your opinion around any of this, please do get in touch. I see this very much as exploratory research and welcome all dialogue!
Due to issues around consent, the questionnaire is only open to those aged 18 and over.
What will you do with the data?
For your protection, I have sought and obtained ethical approval for this study from the Research Ethics Committee of the University of Middlesex, and in accordance with the recommendations of the British Sociological Association. All research (and data collected from it) will be conducted according to the University’s ethical guidelines and the British Sociological Association statement of ethical best practice. All data is untraceable back to you, will be stored securely (on a password protected computer), and will be treated as anonymous. Only I will have access to the full dataset. Nothing you say will be attributed back to you personally.
I will make all aggregate data available to participants through my LJ page, and by informing other relevant organisations (e.g. the OTW). If you have any feedback on any of the findings, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – a lot of my previous research within social sciences has adopted an ‘action research’ philosophy (where participants are actively involved in how data are used and interpreted to form a community of best practice), and as such I welcome opinions, feedback (and constructive criticism) that can help me to design better research going forward, and get the richest interpretations from the findings themselves. As an academic, I also see this as a really fantastic opportunity for me to receive informed feedback on my work before sending it off for peer-review!
I will also link to any publications that arise from the data, and, while I won’t always be able to post completed articles on my LJ page due to copyright issues, I will happily email full articles to anyone who is interested.
Filling in the questionnaire
If you are at all uncomfortable with any of the questions, please don’t feel under any obligation to answer them – just leave them blank. Any data you provide is useful, so please don’t feel that you need to answer all the questions if you don’t want to.
I’ve constructed the questionnaire to enable participants to give lengthy responses if they want to, as from my experience in the slash community I know a lot of us have a great deal to say. However, if you don’t want to provide additional information (or are in a rush!) please don’t feel obligated to give lengthy text box answers.
The questionnaire should take 10-25 minutes to complete, depending on the length of your answers.
If you have any further questions about the research, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have already carried out focus groups with women who are involved in the production and consumption of gay erotica, but am interested in conducting more interviews and focus groups in this area. If you are local(ish) to London and would be interested in participating, please contact me via email or through my LJ.
Thank you for your time.
UPDATE: Thanks so much to all participants so far for feedback on the q’naire, it’s incredibly helpful, and while I can’t change the actual questions now I’ve started it (re: validity, reliability etc.), I will of course make use of suggestions/feedback/concrit over wording when I analyse the results etc. Keep it coming!