Thank you for taking interest in the QuEST research project.

If a member of our research team has invited you to take part in the project, please read the information on this page. It should answer most questions that you may have, and it also explains what you should do next if you decide to participate.

What is this study about?

This study aims to identify the characteristics of the English spoken in Quebec. In order to do so, it first looked at a random sample of publicly available tweets posted by Twitter users from Montreal. By analyzing all those tweets together (without distinguishing between individual users), we were able to identify some characteristics that seem to distinguish the English spoken in Quebec from that spoken in other Canadian regions. We would now like to check if these observations are correct, and if the characteristics we identified on Twitter are also present in face-to-face communication.

You can find more information here: About the project

Why was I asked to participate in this study?

We have contacted you because your Twitter account is among those that we randomly identified at the beginning of our research project. We would now like to ask you to participate in the remainder of our study.

What is expected of me if I decide to participate?

If you agree to participate, you will take part in an interview focusing on your use of English. You will be asked to read aloud a list of words and a short text, to briefly answer some questions and discuss your use of languages in Montreal, and to describe the meaning of a series of sentences. (This will take around 50 minutes.) You will then be asked to participate in a brief conversation on a topic of your choice with somebody you know. (This should take around 10 minutes.)

The interview will be conducted online using secure videoconferencing software. You will be asked to record yourself using an audio recording device you have (for example, your smartphone) and to send the audio recording to the researcher at the end of the interview using a secure online form.

How does my participation help?

If you decide to participate in this project, you will help advance scientific knowledge about a number of issues related to language use and its relationship with a wider social context. The kind of research we are doing can only move forward with the help of potential participants such as yourself. If you like, we would be happy to keep you informed about the results of this project.

This study will help us better understand the way in which the English spoken in Quebec is different from the English spoken in other Canadian regions. This may in turn provide more information about how certain ways of speaking should be addressed in school or in language-related products such as dictionaries.

This study also compares the way people communicate on Twitter to how they communicate in real life. This is important because it helps us understand if publicly available data from social media can provide reliable information to scientists who study language differences between regions.

Is my personal information safe?

Yes. The Twitter data from the first stage of our study is publicly available (in other words, it is the same information that anyone can see by looking at a Twitter profile). If you decide to participate in the second stage of the study, any data you provide will be stored securely, and your anonymity will be guaranteed. For more information, see the Informed consent below.

What is the next step?

If you would like to participate in the project, please reply to the Twitter message in which we first contacted you. We will then set up an online interview at a time that suits you.

Then, please download and carefully read these two documents before the time slot chosen for your interview:

If you accept the terms set out in the forms, please sign them. You will be asked to upload them at the beginning of your interview. As a reminder, you are free to accept or refuse participation in this study at any time. However, the interview can only take place after you have submitted fully completed consent forms.

I have a question about the project. How can I contact you?

Please use the form on this page: Contact us. A member of our research team will get back to you shortly.