FAQs: Taking part in a study

What does the LCDU do?
At the Leeds Child Development Unit, we investigate how children learn to communicate and how they interact with other people. We do most of our research by observing how children use language during specially designed activities. We work with local nurseries, schools, and families who volunteer to participate in our studies, either at school or by coming into our lab.
We run a variety of studies using toys, games, books, and computers, with children from birth to around 10 years of age. Our findings help us answer questions about how grammar, vocabulary, and effective communication develop.

What happens after registering my child’s details for the database?
If you sign up to our database, we wait until your child reaches an age suitable for a particular study. At that point, we will contact you and explain all there is to know about that study. If you then decide to join in, we will make an appointment at a time that is convenient for you and your child.

Is my child the right age for your studies?
Our research covers language development from infancy up until ten years. Each study has an age range that is specific to a particular stage of development. We will contact you when we are running a study suitable for your child’s age.

If I sign up to the database do I have to take part?
No. Once you have registered with us we will contact you when a suitable study is starting. It is completely up to you whether to take part or not.

How and when will I be contacted?
If your child is eligible for one of our studies, we will contact you by e-mail, telephone or post with detailed information about the study. You can then decide on a case-by-case basis whether you would like to take part in this specific study. Your participation is always voluntary.

How will my data be stored?
Your data will be stored on a secure, password-protected area on the University server. Only researchers of the University of Leeds who work with children and whose studies have received ethical approval can have access to your data. We will never pass on your details to a third party.

How do I get to the LCDU?
We can advise you on transport for your visit. For those using public transport we are based just off Woodhouse Lane. If you are driving to the LCDU, you can park on campus. We will explain how to arrange this when you book an appointment.

What will happen on the day?
One of our researchers will meet you at the agreed time and show you to the unit. You and your child can settle in, have a drink, and we will explain what will happen during the study. We will provide all the information you need and then ask you to sign a consent form. Studies typically last around 30 minutes. You stay with your child throughout the experiment. At the end, we will offer your child a ‘Young Scientist’ certificate and a small toy or book as a thank you for taking part.

Will my child enjoy taking part?
Yes! All of our studies are designed to be fun – most studies feel like playing a game to the children taking part.

How long will it take?
Individual studies differ, but most visits last between 30 minutes to an hour.

Can I stay on campus before or after my appointment?
Of course. There are some ideas for fun activities on the University campus via the ‘Visiting Us’ tab above.

What if my child doesn’t want to participate on the day?
If your child is unhappy before or during the study, we will stop. You are free to withdraw at any time. We will ask you if you’d like to reschedule so that you can come along another time.

Can I bring siblings to the appointment?
Yes! We have plenty of toys and pencils and paper to keep your little ones busy during a visit.

What if I need to change or feed my baby?
We always try to keep our young participants happy, so we encourage you to stick to their daily schedule. We have changing facilities and always schedule extra time for regular breaks during your visit.

How do I cancel an appointment?
If you change your mind, you can cancel your appointment at any time via the details below. If you no longer wish to be contacted about our studies please email lcdu@leeds.ac.uk and we will remove your contact details from our database.

Will I get feedback about my child’s performance?
Our studies aren’t designed to assess the performance of individual children. However, once a study has finished you can request feedback on the overall findings of the research.