Information sheet for participants

logo-full_bg-whiteYou are invited to participate in a research project. What the project aims to do is take a set of SMS maternal health messages, which are currently being used in South Africa and Bangladesh, and to translate these messages into a format which are culturally acceptable for pregnant Indigenous Australian women. The research is showing these messages are helping to educate pregnant women and leading to positive behaviour changes. We want to make these messages available to Indigenous Australian women.

The project is being done through Charles Sturt University (School of Management & Marketing), under the supervision of Professor Stephen D’Alessandro, Associate Professor Maree Gruppetta and Dr. Michelle Evans. Maree and Michelle are both Indigenous Australian women. This research is part of a Ph.D project by Dr. Reece George.

We are seeking three groups of people to participate in an online review and testing of maternal health messages:

  1. We need at least four medical professional that works in the field of Indigenous Australian maternal health. This includes at least two midwives and two obstetricians. The purpose of this online review is to attain clinical accuracy of each SMS message, for use within Australian health systems. More specifically, you will be asked to (1) check the content is clinically correct for the target audience, (2) adapt messages to reflect local medical conditions and (3) add new messages that address local medical concerns.
  2. We are also seeking at least 15 senior Indigenous Australian women to culturally approve messages for younger pregnant Indigenous Australian women. The purpose of the cultural review is to word messages in a culturally acceptable way, like it is coming from Aunty, Granny or Mum. This includes using culturally appropriate health care language, names for local food items and adapting messages to suit the local practices and beliefs. Members of this group are required to be Grandmothers, Auntie’s or Mothers, the traditional owners of ‘women’s business’.
  3. We are also seeking at least 10 pregnant Indigenous Australian women between the ages of 16-30. These women represent the end-user so their opinions are critical to the success of the messages. Participants will be asked to consider whether they would follow the advice given, whether they like the ‘tone’ of the messages and provide possible suggestions for improvements.

Participation in all three groups require Internet access (which you already have if you’re reading this). A total of 120 SMS text messages have been posted on this website, which you can only access with a username and password, which will be issued to you upon your acceptance to the study. Each reviewer will have 1 month to review and comment. As most of us are short of time, using this website allows for your participation at convenient times. All participants will be kept informed and their questions will be answered. We will also keep you informed through this website, of project results and any feedback received on the project. You may also receive the occasional reminder email.

Participation in this project is entirely your choice. If after you have decided to participate, you decide to withdraw, you may do so at any time, without giving a reason. You will also be given the opportunity to withdraw any information that may indirectly identify you. Your privacy is respected.

There will be no financial benefits to you by participating in this research, however participants in this type of study have found it to be a personally rewarding experience. We do not anticipate any risks to you in your participation.

Any information collected by the researchers, which might identify you, will be stored securely on encrypted CD’s and kept locked in a filing cabinet. The data will only be accessible by the researchers unless you consent otherwise, except as required by law. Data will be retained for at least 5 years to keep the options open for future uses of the data.

The data collected during this research will be used in a Ph.D thesis for Reece George. It is also anticipated that papers will be produced from this research. The resulting database of SMS health messages are to be made available to health services that care for pregnant Aboriginal women. Individual participants will not be identified in any publications arising from the project. Appropriate credit will be given to Indigenous Australian women wherever the messages are used.

While ‘women’s business‘ will always remain the Intellectual property of senior Indigenous Australian women, participants in this project grant Reece George an unrestricted license to use the projects Intellectual property. In other words, participants ‘own’ the messages created during this project but they give Reece George unrestricted use of the messages.

If there is anything you do not understand, or if you have questions, feel free to contact the researcher or his supervisors:

Professor Stephen D’Alessandro,
Associate Professor Maree Gruppetta
Dr. Michelle Evans
Dr. Reece George

Thank you for considering this invitation.


This project has been approved by the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee, Approval No. H-XXXX-XXXX

Should you have concerns about your rights as a participant in this research, or you have a complaint about the manner in which the research is conducted, it may be given to the researcher, or, if an independent person is preferred, to the Human Research Ethics Officer, Research Office, The Chancellery, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia, telephone (02) 49216333, email

In addition, the AH&MRC and the Ethics Committee have established procedures for addressing complaints about ethical matters in current research in Aboriginal health. In general, this is meant to cover research projects that have been approved by the Ethics Committee, but assistance may be provided for complaints relating to Aboriginal people or communities in general health research.

All correspondence containing complaints or concerns about research should be sent to:

The Chairperson
AH&MRC Ethics Committee
Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW
PO Box 1565
Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012

Please check the checkbox on the registration form to agree to these conditions.

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