Privacy Policy

Thank you for teaming up with Project SOPHIE! Before you start completing this questionnaire, we would like to explain a bit more about what we are doing and what we need from you and why. This is part of the process of informed consent. Take time to read this carefully and to understand the information given to you before deciding whether or not to participate.

What is this project about?

The European project SOPHIE (Seas, Oceans and Human Health in Europe) is a 3-year project that seeks to set a strategic research agenda for Oceans and Human Health in Europe. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from 5 European countries take part in this project, led by the University of Exeter (UK), and which will run until 2020.

As part of this mega-project, SOPHIE’s “Well-being” Citizen Science Initiative seeks to assess the effect that undertaking a marine activity at the coast/sea has on the well-being of those who engage in it, as well as on his/her relationship with the ocean. This initiative seeks to answer the following specific questions:

  • Does engagement in (guided vs. unguided) marine ecotourism activities make a difference in increasing awareness on Ocean conservation issues or Ocean & Human Health interactions?
  • Can participation in marine ecotourism activities trigger behaviour change on environmental issues related to Ocean & Human Health?
  • Is this change short- or long-term?
  • Does the previous experience of a participant have an influence on his/her response?

To answer these questions, people like you, who have recently taken part in a marine activity (diving, kayaking, whale watching, coasteering, swimming, etc.…) are invited to share their experience by filling-in a survey.

Who is completing these questionnaires?

Any adult carrying out a marine activity along the coast or at sea, guided or unguided, alone or in a group, for the first time or as a pro, is welcome to take part in this project. The more diversity of participants we reach, the better idea we will get of the relationship between people and the sea.

What will you be asked to do?

If you agree to take part in this study, after giving us your consent and confirming that you are over 18 years old you will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire. It should take you about 10 minutes to do so.

There are 22 questions in total: some of them are not mandatory, but most are, and you will have to answer them in order to continue. You will be asked about the activity that you have enjoyed, your reflections about the experience and what you have learnt, and a possible change in your attitude. There are no right or wrong answers: we are really interested in knowing about your experience and thoughts.

At the end of this questionnaire you will be asked if you would like to answer again some of the questions after 4 weeks. If you agree we will need your e-mail address, so that we can send you the link to this next questionnaire and we can identify your answers in the third questionnaire (T3) and know they are a follow-up. It should take you about 3 minutes to answer the last questionnaire.

What if you want to stop at any point?

You can decide to finish your participation in this study at any point while you are answering the questionnaires by simply closing your browser. Once you close your browser, you will not be able to resume the survey, as we have no way of tracing respondents.

In case you decide you want to finish your participation in this study, but you have already sent us your answers, simply send us an e-mail at requesting us to remove your details. If you sent us your e-mail address, we will be able to identify your answers and we will delete them from the study database. However, we will only be able to do so until the moment you answer the last questionnaire (T3). As soon as we receive your answers for this last questionnaire, we will delete your e-mail address from our database, and we will no longer be able to identify you and remove your responses (as we cannot know which responses belong to you).

Keeping your answers anonymous

All your answers will remain completely anonymous. This questionnaire will not ask for your name or contact details. Only if you agree to take part in the follow-up questionnaires, you will be asked for your e-mail address, so that we can send you the link to such questionnaire and follow-up again if you agree after 4-weeks. Immediately after you have completed the third and last follow-up questionnaire, we will delete your e-mail address to keep the answers anonymous in our database. We will never contact you again for any purpose (but you can contact us anytime if you would like to follow-up on the results of this research).

All the answers from this study will be stored in an online database with an encrypted code, so that only the project researchers can access the data, already anonymized. The responses will be analysed and published in aggregate.

What will we do with the results?

This gathering of information from participants of marine and coastal ecotourism activities will run for one whole year, from April 2019 to March 2020. Once finished, all the anonymised answers will be examined and analysed by researchers at universities and research institutes in England, Ireland, Holland and Spain in order to answer the questions of the project. Data included at this stage will not be individually identifiable.

We are hoping to get many replies from people all over Europe, and the analysis of all data might take quite some time. Data might be published in scientific journals; but such data will always be presented in aggregate form in these publications.

The questions we want to answer will help the European Uniongovernmentsresearch institutionsNGO’s and tourism operators to improve the way they address the general public to make people aware of the connections between Ocean and Human health, and to design positive messages that encourage a social change towards responsible environmental behaviour. After the project is finished, the anonymised data will be stored in a secure server in Europe and may be analysed by other researchers. It will also be publicly available under written request as per EU requirement.

What if you have any questions?

We will not be there with you to answer any questions you may have as you complete the questionnaire, but you can always drop us a line with any queries you may have. Please feel free to contact the project managers:

  • Luz Parga (SUBMON) at
  • Julia Vera (Travelecoology) at


If you have any complaints about the way in which this study has been carried out, please contact the project managers:

  • Luz Parga (SUBMON) at
  • Julia Vera (Travelecoology) at

Before you begin

Before you begin you will need to press on the “Yes I agree, let’s start!” tab. By doing so you agree that:

  • You have read the information about the research.
  • You are satisfied that any questions you had have been addressed. If not, you may ask questions about this study and receive answers prior to continuing.
  • You understand what the study is about and what you will be doing.
  • You understand that you are free to withdraw participation from the study by closing your browser window or navigating away from this page, or by writing us a message without having to give a reason.
  • You understand that your answers will be combined with the answers from many other people from Europe, and that your own answers will be made anonymous. You understand that you will never be contacted again for any other purpose.
  • You understand that the anonymized data will be shared with our partner researchers for analyses and used to produce reports within the SOPHIE project and to publish the results.
  • You understand that after project end the anonymised data may be analysed by other researchers/will be publicly available as per EU requirement. You are happy to take part in the study.

This will confirm that you have read about the project and how your answers will be dealt with. Please keep in mind that only then you will be able to proceed to filling-in the questionnaire! Please close this window to confirm that you consent to our Privacy Policy and start the questionnaire if you wish to do so.