News Info

Research Opportunity

10th August, 2021

What are we trying to find out?

We are looking for people over the age of 65 to take part in our study! You will be given a variety of very short reading materials (i.e. short stories, haikus and poetry) so that you can tell us what you think about them in a mini-focus group setting with 5-7 other people. We want to find out whether these reading materials would be suitable for people with Subjective Cognitive Impairment (SCD) and people with Vascular Cognitive Impairment (VCI).

  • Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) is a self-observed decline in thinking processes (e.g. memory) and it is self-observed because it may not pronounced enough for others to notice or to formally diagnose.
  • Vascular Cognitive Impairment (VCI) is a condition where cognition function (thinking functions of the brain such as language, memory, attention and reasoning) is affected by cerebrovascular disease. Cerebrovascular disease is a process that causes blood vessels supplying the brain, or within the brain, become blocked or damaged. VCI is a variable condition,

Why is this research important?

The act of reading is a cognitively stimulating task and prior work has shown that engaging in cognitively stimulating activities across the lifespan can reduce the risk of developing dementia. People with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) have a higher risk of developing dementia. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people with a diagnosis of MCI develop dementia. It is therefore important to target interventions for people living with MCI which may serve to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

To our knowledge, there have not been any studies that have looked at the suitability of reading materials intended for people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). It is important to find out if the materials are suitable because we hope to use our reading materials in a future study. Before we do, we need to know if they are the right level of difficulty and if they are engaging.

What will be asked of me if I choose to take part?

You will first be asked to do some questionnaires to see if you are eligible. After, you will be given a selection of short stories, haikus and poems to read at home. You will then be invited to an online mini-focus group with 5-7 other people. This will take place using Zoom, a video conference software.

During the focus group, the group will be asked a few questions about the reading materials and you will be invited to discuss your thoughts as a group. The focus group will be recorded but once completed, all of your data will be anonymised.

Who is eligible for the study?

  • if you are aged 65 or over
  • if you have normal or-corrected-to normal vision
  • If you have access to a computer with a video camera

What would NOT make me eligible for the study?

  • If you are currently suffering from a psychiatric disorder (e.g. depression, anxiety)
  • If you have a neurological condition (e.g. epilepsy, stroke, dementia etc.)
  • If you have a history of cognitive impairment
  • If you have a reading or writing impairment (e.g. dyslexia)
  • If you have a diagnosed sleep disorder (e.g. sleep apnoea)
  • If your vision is outside of the normal or corrected-to-normal range
  • If you do not have access to a computer with a webcam

Are there any risks associated with taking part?

As this is an online-based study, participating in the research is not anticipated to cause you any disadvantages or discomfort. The potential physical and/or psychological harm or distress will be no more than experienced in everyday life.

You will also be sent some reading material in the post. It should be noted that there is a risk of COVID-19 transmission when receiving this package. However, We will ensure every effort is made to disinfect all reading material prior to sending the package. We have also created an information booklet which contains instructions about safe handling to dramatically reduce risk of transmission.

Who is conducting this research?

All of the research will be conducted by Chloe Tulip, a PhD research student from Swansea University, College of Human and Health Sciences. The study is being supervised by Professor Mark Blagrove and Professor Andrea Tales, also from Swansea University, College of Human and Health Sciences. This study has been given ethical approval from Swansea University ethics committee. 

Who should I contact if I’d like to take part?

If you would like to take part, please contact the primary researcher Chloe Tulip by email,


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