Attitudes to vaccination in a New Zealand sample: origins and causes

Project description

People are reluctant to vaccinate their children for a variety of reasons. Often people who do not vaccinate or are hesitant to vaccinate feel shut down or unheard. The aim of this project is to listen to the reasons why people choose to not vaccinate, or delay vaccination, of their children.

Your thoughts and stories will be gathered by an interview. A transcript of the interview will be made. It will then be analysed along with others’ transcripts, looking at themes that occur within and across the interviews.

Participant Identification, Recruitment and Invitation

You have been invited to participate in this research as you have been identified by someone you know as being vaccine hesitant. To take part in this project, you need to have at least one child who is no older than 9 years old.

I am interviewing 10-15 participants in-depth. This study is exploratory qualitative research, meaning that the questions are open-ended and the stories told are analysed in detail. Because of this and the time limitations of the study (to end by June 2019), if you are interested in taking part, I would be grateful if you could contact me (Robyn) by email (at the end of this letter) as soon as possible with a contact number and your location. I intend to allow a time period of three days from release of this letter and then will check all emails from interested persons to try and pick 10-15 interviewees from a range of geographical locations in New Zealand. This is to maximise spread. If necessary more time will be given to gain more responses.

Potential participants will be called by phone and have any questions answered. If you meet the criteria and are willing to be involved then you will be asked to join the study. Once 10-15 participants are obtained the others who responded but have not been contacted will be emailed and thanked for their interest.

Project Procedures

At the interview, I will ask you questions about your beliefs, how you came to be hesitant about vaccination, and your experiences with the medical profession.

I will bring with me an audio recording device and a consent form. The consent form will need to be signed before the interview starts.

The length of the interview is designed to take no more than 35 to 45 minutes. However, if you have more to say, then I am happy to take the time to listen.

The interviews will be conducted before the end of June 2019. You will have three days after the interview is completed to withdraw your data from the project if you wish. Transcripts of each interview will be coded to determine key themes.

A report will be written, and a summary of findings will be sent to all the participants. The findings may also be published in academic journals or conference presentations.

Question areas

Questions will cover:

  • Beliefs
  • Alternative Medical Practices
  • How you became aware of vaccination issues
  • How you went about assessing vaccination
  • Conversations you have had with others, including medical staff
  • Any adverse reactions to vaccines that you are aware of, including with your own children.

You are free to decline to answer any question.

If any questions cause you distress, then we will pause the interview, and you can ask that the interview stop or continue after a break if you are comfortable with that. We will discuss with you ways you may like to gather support. We would also encourage you to call Lifeline if you feel distressed. It is a free counselling service available 24 hours, 7 days a week. The phone number is 0800 543 354 or you can text HELP (4357).

Data management

Due to the small sample, obtained by using social networks, it may be possible for people to be identified by their responses. Quotes from interviews are often used in reports where the research is qualitative. Although every effort will be made to ensure that no quote is used which could identify a participant, this cannot be guaranteed.

Hence, confidentiality and security of the data is considered extremely important. Names will not be used on the transcript, instead pseudonyms will be used, and all identifying information removed in reports derived from the data.

Recordings will be transcribed as soon as possible following the interview and then the recordings will be destroyed. The transcripts will be identified only by a participant number. Electronic copies will be kept on password-protected computers accessible only to the research team. Transcripts will be destroyed after two years. Data used in the publications will not be linked to a name (except for a pseudonym where appropriate) or participant number and where possible, will be aggregated with other data.

Consent forms will be kept separate from any data in a locked office at Massey University, accessible only to the research team.

Participant’s rights

You are under no obligation to accept this invitation.  If you decide to participate, you have the right to:

  • Decline to answer any particular question
  • Withdraw from the study up to any time three days post-interview
  • Ask any questions about the study at any time during participation
  • Provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless you give permission to the researcher
  • Be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded
  • Ask for the recorder to be turned off at any time during the interview




Project contacts

Main researcher

This is a project for a 15 credit paper in the degree for Masters of Science in Society


  • Dr Doug Ashwell PhD, Associate Head of School, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing
  • Dr Niki Murray PhD, Senior Lecturer, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern A, Application 19/15. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please contact Dr Negar Partow, Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern A, telephone 04 801 5799 x 63363, email

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