I’m Seeking Participants for Research About #BlackLivesMatter


Whether you came here through a link from a personal email, a tweet about my research, or word-of-mouth, I’m glad you’re here. You’ve found the informed consent information for participation in a research study about “the new civics” underwritten by the Spencer Foundation (Grant No. 201600019).

Thanks to a grant of about $30K, my co-investigators and I are able to take on a project that examines the motivations, aims and outcomes of using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag online and in offline protests during 2014 and 2015. Deen Freelon, an assistant professor at American University, is lead primary investigator, and will take a Big Data approach to examining Twitter data that uses the hashtag. Charlton McIllwain, an associate professor at New York University, will provide semiotic and discourse analysis of texts created with the hashtag.

My contribution to this research is to conduct in-depth interviews with individuals who have done any of the following: used the #BlackLivesMatters hashtag to draw attention to issues regarding police brutality and Black people in America; joined protests related to the deaths of unarmed Black people killed by the police and/or armed civilians, otherwise engaged in civil disobedience, public protests or Twitter-based conversations about these incidents.

That’s where you come in.

Each participant will be asked to speak with me for at least one 60-minute interview. If necessary, additional interviews will be conducted. No participant will be asked to give more than four hours of their time.

You can participate confidentially, choosing a pseudonym to be issued in our final report and related publications, or, if you prefer, you may use your name, Twitter handle, or another identifier. Your comfort in this research priority is of top concern to me.

If you’d like to participate, please read and electronically sign this informed consent form.

Once you’ve completed the form, go ahead and choose a time that’s convenient for you to speak with me. Please note that the interview takes about one hour.

You’ll be prompted to enter your email address in order to access the form. I will use this email address ONLY to follow up with you about your interview. The interviews will be conducted by phone, Skype, Google Hangout and/or in person (whenever possible).

As an aside, please note that neither I nor my colleagues are or have received any financial payment for our work on this research. The grant is solely for the purchasing on Twitter data, to pay for travel to Ferguson, Cleveland and Staten Island, and to hire assistants to transcribe interviews and design artwork for our final report. We are not receiving any salary/honorarium to conduct this research, and have submitted statements to each of our universities attesting to such.

I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about participating in this study.

Thank you in advance for lending your voice to this work.

Kind regards,

Meredith D. Clark, Ph.D.

Assistant professor

Mayborn School of Journalism

University of North Texas




  1. Is there scope for black people who experience police violence, but live outside the US, to participate?


    1. Yes. I am happy to interview anyone who lives outside the United States for research related to this topic. I’d prefer to schedule a pre-interview session with potential participants outside of the United States to brief them on how the data may be used if it is not included in the Spencer Grant project final narrative. Please email directly: Meredith (dot) Clark (at) unt (dot) edu. Thank you.


  2. I would be happy to speak with you. I learned of a test at a school district meeting that accurately determines if a person is racist. I want to promote national legislation requiring all public servants must pass this test (and pass one for being a chauvinistic too!) @Rinidragon


    1. Hello Mary, thanks for asking. Here’s our aim, directly from our grant proposal:

      “The proposed research project aims to understand how #Blacklivesmatter participants use
      social media to organize, implement, and advertise their activism, as well as measure how
      effective these efforts are.”


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