This section further explores common questions and their answers about the Supporting Healthy Ageing at Work (SHAW) study and participating in the study.

What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of the study is to find out more about the health issues that affect workers aged 50+, and to involve older workers in the design of workplace-based products and services to support healthy ageing.

The study is being carried out in three case study organisations, one in the:

  • Finance sector
  • Manufacturing sector
  • Social care sector

Self-employed workers from a range of sectors are also being included in the study.

This project is in two stages:

Stage 1

We plan to interview 160 participants across the 4 case study settings.

If you decide to take part in an interview in Stage 1, you can then choose if you would like to stay involved in the project for stage two, or you can opt out of the project at this point.

Stage 2

We will work closely with up to 60 participants across the 4 case study settings. These 60 participants will help our researchers to design innovative ways of supporting you and your colleagues’ healthy ageing at work.

Why have I been invited to take part?

You have been invited to take part in this study because you are aged 50+ and you work in one of the case study organisations, or you are aged 50 + and are self-employed.

No — it is entirely up to you.

If you do decide to take part, you are still free to withdraw at any time and without giving a reason. Deciding not to take part or withdrawing from the study will not affect your employment in any way.

Please note your data may be used in the production of formal research outputs (for example journal articles, conference papers, and reports) prior to your withdrawal and so you are advised to contact the research team at the earliest opportunity should you wish to withdraw from the study. Also note that once the data has been anonymised it will not be possible to withdraw your data.

What will happen if I decide to take part?

If you do decide to take part, please keep this Information Sheet. You will be asked to sign an Informed Consent Form to show that you understand your rights in relation to the research, and that you are happy to participate.

Taking part in Stage 1 of the study will involve an interview with a researcher.

This will take place either online (on MS Teams or Zoom) or face to face, depending on Covid restrictions. The interview will last approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. We will use a ‘Life Grid’ as a visual aid to help record key events over the course of your life, relating to your work, family, housing, and health history. You will be asked a number of questions covering topics such as:

  • Your current and previous employment
  • Your current and previous experiences of health and wellbeing, and the sorts of things that you think have an influence on your health and wellbeing
  • How your job affects your physical and mental health
  • How your physical and mental health affects your experiences at work
  • (For women) Whether your experience of menopause has had any impact on your working life
  • Whether you have any concerns about staying sharp mentally as you grow older
  • Whether you have any money worries
  • Whether you are involved in looking after children, grandchildren, or elderly/disabled friends or relatives — and how this affects your quality of life
  • Whether you have noticed any changes to your physical and mental health as you have grown older
  • Your hopes and plans for the future

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

There are no direct benefits to taking part in this research, but by sharing your experiences with us, you will be helping the research team to better understand how employers can support healthy ageing at work.

Are there any risks or disadvantages associated with taking part?

There are no significant risks associated with participation.

Will my taking part be kept confidential?

All the information we collect during the course of the research will be kept confidential and there are strict laws which safeguard your privacy at every stage.

How will we use information about you?

We will need to use information from you for this research project. This information will include your:

  • Name
  • Year of birth
  • Ethnic group
  • Contact details
  • Place of work and job title

Only members of the research team will be able to see your name or contact details. We will give your data a unique participant code number. We will keep all information about you safe and secure. We will not pass any information about you back to your employer.

All audio recordings will be destroyed once they have been transcribed. Interview transcripts will be anonymised. Your data will be referred to by a unique participant code number rather than by name.

All electronic data will be encrypted and all paper records will be stored in a locked filing cabinet in a locked University of Edinburgh office. Your consent information will be kept separately from your responses in order to minimise risk.

Once we have finished the study, we will keep the data so we can check the results. We will write our reports in a way that no-one can work out that you took part in the study. At the end of the study, all the anonymised data will be deposited in a secure data archive (Data Vault) at The University of Edinburgh for a minimum of 10 years and this may be used in future ethically approved research.

How can I find out more about how my information is used?

You can find out more about how we use your information at the University of Edinburgh Privacy Notice for Research Participants Webpage.

What will happen with the results of this study?

The results from Stage 1 of the study will be used by researchers to help design Stage 2 of the study. The results from Stages 1 and 2 of this study may be summarised in published articles, reports, and presentations.

You will not be identifiable from any published results. Quotes or key findings will always be made anonymous in any formal outputs unless we have your prior and explicit written permission to attribute them to you by name. With your consent, your anonymised information may also be kept for future research.

A summary of the findings from the study will be made available to participants who indicate they would like to receive this. This summary will be sent to participants by email.

Who is organising and funding the research?

This study has been organised by the research team led by Professor Wendy Loretto and sponsored by the University of Edinburgh. The study is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Who has reviewed the study?

The study proposal has been reviewed by The University of Edinburgh Business School Ethics Committee. The University of Edinburgh is the sponsor for this study.

Who can I contact?

If you have any further questions about the study, please contact:

If you wish to discuss this study with someone independent of the study, or ask questions about participants’ rights, please contact:

The University of Edinburgh is the data processor and data controller for this research. If you have questions about data protection, please contact:

  • The University of Edinburgh Data Protection Officer:

For general information about how we use your data visit:

If you wish to make a complaint about the study, please contact:

  • The Research Governance Team at the University of Edinburgh College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: