Plain language statement

PROJECT TITLE: Word Meaning in Mandarin-English Bilinguals

Responsible researcher: A/Prof Meredith McKague ([email protected], Tel: +61 (03) 8344 5158)
Co-investigator: Dr Simon De Deyne ([email protected]), Miss Wen Chen ([email protected])


Thank you for your interest in participating in this research project. This page provides you with further information about the project, so that you can decide if you would like to take part in this research. Please take the time to read this information carefully and contact us if there's anything you don’t understand or want to know more about. Your participation is voluntary. If you don’t wish to take part, you don’t have to. If you begin participating, you can also stop at any time without any adverse consequences.

What is this research about?

The goal of this study is to investigate how native and non-native speakers of English represent different aspects of word meaning. In addition, the study also aims to investigate how word knowledge of Mandarin-English bilinguals changes as they become more proficient in English.

What will I be asked to do?

Should you agree to participate, you will be asked to answer some demographic questions and undertake a test of English proficiency. You will then complete a task where you will be presented with a series of English words (the cue words) and for each cue word there will be a series of target words that may or may not be related in meaning to the cue word. Your will have to indicate whether you think the words are associated in meaning with the cue word. Your response and the time you take to make each response will comprise the data for this experiment. The estimated time commitment for this task is 1 hour.

What are the possible benefits?

This experiment can help us better understand the word knowledge that bilinguals have in their second language, specifically, we will acquire a better understanding of which types of word meaning knowledge are easier to acquire than others. It will help us better understand how language knowledge develops and is organised in the bilingual brain and has the potential to improve second language learning and teaching. As part of the REP program, you will receive 1 course credit in the subject Mind, Brain and Behaviour 2.


What are the possible risks?

Besides the time investment to participate in the study, there are minimal risks. The words presented will all be common and non-offensive English words.


What will happen to information about me?

We will protect your confidentiality to the fullest extent, subject to limits of the law. Your consent form will be kept separate from your data. The data will be identified by participant ID only and will not contain your name. Only the researchers involved in this study will be able to link your data to your name. Data from this study will be stored under password protection and made available only to the researchers listed at the top of the Plain Language Statement. The data will be stored in de-identified form at the University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences archive indefinitely. Later on, the data may also be made available online to other researchers working in this area, again in de-identified form.

Do I have to take part?

No. Participation is completely voluntary. You are able to withdraw at any time without penalty. Your data will not be used in the experiment if you do not complete the task.

Will I hear about the results of this project?

The results of this research may be published in conference presentations and/or research papers which will be made available through the personal webpages of some of the researchers listed at the top of this Plain Language Statement. You may contact the researchers if you would like to know your results for the English proficiency test or the word association judgment test.

Where can I get further information?

If you would like more information about the project, please contact the researchers:
A/Prof Meredith McKague ([email protected]), Dr Simon De Deyne ([email protected]) or Miss Wen Chen ([email protected]).

Who can I contact if I have any concerns about the project?

This research project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of The University of Melbourne. If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this research project, which you do not wish to discuss with the research team, you should contact the Manager, Human Research Ethics, Research Ethics and Integrity, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010. Tel: +61 3 8344 2073 or Email: [email protected] All complaints will be treated confidentially. In any correspondence please provide the name of the research team or the name or ethics ID number of the research project.

Consent to participate in study
  • I understand that the purpose of this research is to investigate the representation of types of word meaning knowledge in Mandarin-English bilinguals of varying proficiency.
  • I understand that my participation in this project is for research purposes only.
  • I acknowledge that the possible effects of participating in this research project have been explained to my satisfaction.
  • In this project I will be required to answer some demographic questions, undertake a test to assess English proficiency, and complete a language task that involves deciding whether a series of words are related.
  • I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw from this project anytime without explanation or prejudice and to withdraw any unprocessed data that I have provided.
  • I understand that I may request access to my data by contacting the researchers.
  • I have been informed that the confidentiality of the information I provide will be safeguarded subject to any legal requirements; my data will be password protected and accessible only by the named researchers

By clicking “Proceed”, I confirm that I have read and understood the explanations and I voluntarily consent to participate in this study.