Information for experiment participants
Information about the Forest 404 Experiment
This information page is for people wanting to know more about taking part in the BBC Forest 404 Experiment. Please read this information carefully before deciding to participate.
What is the aim of the experiment?
Scientific research has shown that spending time in nature can be good for people’s physical and mental health. Some of these effects can even be gained just by watching or listening to the natural environment.
The aim of this experiment is to find out more about how people feel when listening to the sounds of nature. This might include the wind in the trees, birds singing, or waves washing on to the beach.
Because we are also interested in how poems and stories about nature may affect these experiences, some of the sounds you will be asked to listen to might contain short snippets of nature-based poetry.
The results will help us to better understand the value of natural soundscapes for human wellbeing and inform efforts to protect them.
This survey is being undertaken as part of a collaboration between the BBC, the University of Bristol, the Open University and the University of Exeter.
Who can take part?
Anyone who is aged 18 or over can take part. You will be asked to listen to several different sounds and so must have either headphones or speakers at the ready.
What will I be asked to do?
The experiment should take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete. It consists of four main sections:
Sound test – to make sure you can hear the audio correctly;
Mood setting – asking you to imagine a certain scenario;
Soundscapes – listening to three 30 second clips and answering several short questions about how they made you feel;
Background – questions to help us understand how soundscapes affect people with different characteristics. For example, “Where did you grow up?”
There are no right or wrong answers—we are genuinely interested in your views. For some of the questions you may indicate that you "prefer not to answer" if you wish.
Can I change my mind and withdraw from the survey?
You can withdraw from the survey at any time (without giving a reason) by closing your browser window. Any data you have provided up until that point will not be saved.
What data or information is collected and what use will be made of it?
All the responses you make to the questions in this survey will be recorded by the Open University nQuire platform. All responses you provide will be anonymous—you won't be personally identifiable in any way. Once collected, the data will be securely stored and only shared securely between selected people at the Open University, the University of Bristol, and the University of Exeter.
We aim to report the results of the experiment on a future radio programme, via project partner websites, academic publications, and press releases. As we are not collecting any personal data from you, you will not be personally identifiable in any research output. After July 2024, all data from the experiment will be made freely accessible to the public. This means anyone could apply to use it for their own research or commercial purposes. Your responses will however, remain anonymous—you will not be able to be personally identified in this dataset.
If you have any questions about this project or wish to know the results of the project please contact: Prof Peter Coates on P.A.Coates@bristol.ac.uk or Alex Smalley on A.J.Smalley@exeter.ac.uk.