I am undertaking research about online communication technologies and their potential in helping people grieve. After losing my mother to cancer recently, I was overwhelmed among other things to find that a majority of my friends and family used e-mail, social networking sites such as Facebook, and SMS text messaging to express their grief and sympathy. It is a growing trend, and I am interested to survey other bereaved people to learn of their experiences. Perhaps more importantly, I am curious how the bereaved themselves cope with or without these technologies.
There are 12 questions below with no right or wrong answers. You can respond or reply however you feel comfortable. I appreciate and value everybody's opinions and feelings equally. If you prefer to email your response, please send them to me at email@example.com. Please answer with as much detail as you feel comfortable disclosing. I thank you for what you share and I will make all disclosures anonymous. In other words, I will not publish your names or other personally identifying details.
For information on ethics or details of my research please visit http://i.imgur.com/NoUsW.png
1. How old are you?
2. What has been the most significant bereavement in your life?
3. Have you kept any SMS text messages and/or Emails from your deceased loved one? If so, how and why did you store them?
4. Did any friends or family email or send SMS text messages expressing their sympathy as a preferred method of initial contact about your loss? Did you attempt to store them? Are they special to you?
5. Do you still have your sympathy cards from friends and family? Are they important to you? Why/why not?
6. Even if you don't have an online memorial, would an online memorial be just as important to you as the place of burial of your deceased loved one?
7. Do you have handwritten letters from your loved one? Please share why these are special to you.
8. Is an email or phone voice message from a now deceased loved just as valuable to you as a hand-written note from them? Can you explain what you might value more and why?
9. Have you kept or stored any other letters or messages such as Facebook messages from friends/family or your loved one? What about them or it is special to you?
10. How did Email/SMS text messaging/forum participation or Facebook (or similar) have an effect on how you coped with your grief? If one or more or even none helped, please explain.
11. How soon after your bereavement did you access online grief forums? Why did you choose to do this?
12. How important are online grieving sites such as memorial websites or grief forums to you? Please explain.
Thank you again for sharing your story with me.