Frequently Asked Questions


who is doing this research?

This research is led by Dr. Fiona Vera-Gray, a researcher who is based at Durham Law School, with expertise in sexual violence and a background in feminist phenomenology which is a type of philosophy focused on describing lived experience. The project is joint funded by Durham Law School and the Leverhulme Trust through an Early Career Fellowship. Fiona has long term experience of providing support to survivors of rape and childhood sexual abuse through her work at Rape Crisis South London and has previously written critically about the pornography industry. This project is about asking questions on how we increase women's space for sexual action, and whether women see online pornography as a vehicle for increasing or constraining this space.


Do I have to take part?

No. It is up to you if you take part. If you do decide to take part you will be asked to sign a consent form to show that you agree to take part in the research project. This happens by ticking a box on the survey, or by signing a form in person. If you do agree to take part and then change your mind later, at any point prior to publication, you can stop taking part. All you need to do is tell the researcher.


Will I be named in the research?

No. All identifiable information will be changed: this means that what you say is anonymised. You will be asked, if you choose to participate in the research conversations, to pick a name you are happy to be referred to by throughout the research process. Any identifiable information about you (including signed consent forms, notes, recordings and other documents containing personal information) will be preserved in a secure place to which only the lead researcher will have access. You will be sent your completed transcript to sign off and consent to its use in future publications and other forms of dissemination. If you are quoted please note this will be attributed only to the name you have given, not to your real name.


What will I have to do?

The online survey has now closed, however you can still participate through an individual conversation, which you can expect to last between 20 minutes and an hour. The conversations will take place in March - June 2017. You will talk in person with the lead researcher and all conversations will be conducted over the phone or via audio Skype. It will be a space for us to talk through the initial findings of the project, for you to speak about your own feelings and experiences on pornography, and for us to have a think about where pornography sits for you in relation to other things in your life.  


will you be showing me pornography?

No pornographic images will be shown to any participant at any point in the research process.


Will I be paid?

For the interviews a random prize draw will operate, with 20 participants 'winning' £20 in gift vouchers. Survey respondents could choose to enter a prize draw to win one of ten £20 vouchers. All winners of the survey prize draw have been notified.


is what i say confidential?

Whatever you say in the interview will remain confidential. However, in any case where information is brought forward that indicates an imminent threat of death or severe injury for an identifiable person or group of persons, the researcher may be obliged either to pass that information on. This is extremely rare and you will be consulted throughout the process.


What is the benefit of taking part?

From an initial review of the literature there is a substantial gap in women's voices about their pornography use or their pornography refusal. In particular there is very little on women and online pornography, especially mainstream sites. This is an opportunity for you to anonymously have your voice heard. It is also a chance to think through how you feel about pornography in a boundaried, supported way. It can be hard to find somewhere to talk about pornography without feeling judged or pressured to feel a particular way, and we are rarely given the space to work out what we personally think and why. This project will try to create that space.

The results of the survey and interviews will be disseminated in journal articles and presentations for academic and general audiences, as well as a book on the topic to be published in 2019. As a participant in this research you will have the option to receive a full written summary of the project and its results. This website will also be regularly updated with findings, which you can access here.


What if there is a problem?

If you have a serious concern or problem to do with this research, you can speak to the lead researcher, who will do her best to help. If you have any questions related to the ethics of the research and would like to speak to someone you can contact the ethics committee lead at Durham Law School.


If I want to take part what should I do next?

If you are interested in taking part, get in contact and we will organise a face to face or Skype/telephone interview for Feb-June 2017.