Study Information

You are being invited to take part in an online study focusing on email scams. Before you decide, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information. Thank you for reading this.


What is the purpose of the project?

The purpose of the project is to understand how well you can discriminate between phishing (fraudulent) and genuine emails and what visual elements of the email you use to shape your decision. Phishing is a method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive emails which contain links to fake websites. As part of a PhD research project, the findings of this research may be disseminated at conferences and in published articles to help inform educational programs on how to identify fraudulent emails.


What will happen to me if I take part?

If you choose to participate in this online study, you will first be asked some questions relating to your background and your use of the internet/email services. Once you have answered these questions you will be presented with 24 emails, both personal and work related, taken from the inbox of ‘Alex Jones’. Your job will be to examine these emails, with the aim of deciding whether each email is legitimate or phishing. You will also be asked to provide a rating of how confident you are with your recommendation, and what aspects of the email most influenced your recommendation. After you have viewed all of the emails, we will tell you the correct answers! Participation in this online study is estimated to take no longer than 20 minutes. As you will be viewing images of emails, we recommend using a computer or tablet device, rather than a mobile phone, to ensure you can see the image clearly. 


Why I have been asked to take part?

You are invited to take part if you are 18 or over and can speak English (this is as all questions and emails will be presented using the English language). Taking part in this research is entirely voluntary. 


What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

There are no foreseeable risks associated with this study as the email stimuli you will be exposed to can be encountered in everyday life and it is hoped that you enjoy taking part. In the event that you wish to stop taking part, for example you feel fatigued, please press the 'Finish Later' option on the bottom of the page. This allows you to save your progress and, if you wish, you may return to finish the survey later using a personalised URL which will be provided to you. You can ask for this personalised URL to be emailed to you or you can save it to your bookmarks. 


Will my taking part in this project be kept confidential?

Please note that any information you provide will be completely anonymous and participation is entirely voluntary. No personally identifiable information (e.g. name or contact details) will be collected during the study. Only the research team, Alexandra Brookes and Dr. Gareth Norris, will have access to your data. In accordance with the terms and conditions of funded research, it is possible that the research data (not personal contact details data) collected within this project may be required to be deposited in an approved data repository for archiving and sharing. All data will be fully anonymized before it is deposited, and no individual will be identified in the archived data.  


Can I withdraw from the study?

You can exit the survey at any point by closing down the browser and by doing so, this will delete any question responses that you may have provided up to that point in the study. If you would like to withdraw your data after completing the study, please make a note of the ID number that is provided to you on the final page of this survey. To withdraw from the study please email the lead researcher at the address below before the 1st August 2020 and quote this ID number within the email. If you choose to do this, no personal details will be collected (i.e. name and email address) as your email will be deleted once your survey data has been removed from our database. After the 1st August 2020 the research will have been prepared for analysis and write-up and your data cannot be retrieved. 


Who has reviewed the project?

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Department of Psychology’s Research Ethics Committee, Aberystwyth University, in accordance with the British Psychological Society’s Code of Ethics and Conduct.  As the researcher, I am required to conduct the research in accordance to these guidelines.


Does the project conform to GDPR guidelines?

This research is being conducted in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation guidelines.  The data controller for this project will be Aberystwyth University (AU). The AU Data Protection Manager provides oversight of AU activities involving the processing of personal data, and can be contacted at Your personal data will be processed for the purposes outlined in this notice. The legal basis that would be used to process your personal data will be ‘a task in the public interest’. If you are concerned about how your personal data is being processed, please contact AU in the first instance at If you remain dissatisfied, you may wish to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Contact details, and details of data subject rights, are available on the ICO website at:


Further information and who to contact

If you would like any further information concerning this study, please contact the researcher Alexandra Brookes at

Lead Researcher: Alexandra Brookes (

Research Supervisor: Dr. Gareth Norris (

In case of complaints, please contact Professor Nigel Holt (


This part of the survey uses a table of questions, 

If you wish to participate in the study, please note your agreement to the following seven statements: Required

Please don't select more than 1 answer(s) per row.

Please select at least 7 answer(s).

I agreeI disagree
I confirm that I am over 18 years of age and I can speak the English language.
I confirm that I have read and understand the information sheet for the project in which I have been asked to take part and have had the opportunity to email the researcher to ask questions.
I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw at any time, up until 1st August 2020 without giving any reason.
I understand that all personal data about me (e.g., contact details) will be kept confidential and stored securely, and that only the research team will have access to it.
I understand that my data will be fully anonymized so that I cannot be identified in the research in anyway, or in any extracts that might be used in the reporting of the results and in future publications.
I understand that the fully anonymised dataset may be deposited in an approved data repository, in accordance with the funder’s terms and conditions.
I understand that the researcher must conduct the research in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Conduct set down by the British Psychological Society.
Please tick the box to say you have agreed to all of the above seven statements and would like to take part in the above research project: Required

If you submit your answers you will not be able to return to this page.