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Criteria for Conducting Research with Approval from OLOC

by Sharon Raphael, Ph.D., Research Gatekeeper, OLOC

Who Gets Access:

If a person wishes to have access to OLOC' s members through our website for the purpose of doing research, the prospective researcher needs to meet the following criteria and take the following steps. In most cases, only Lesbian identified researchers will be granted permission to conduct research on Old Lesbians under OLOC' s auspices.There might be exceptions made to the Lesbian only rule, if the study is a large scale survey (500 or more subjects/participants)intended to gather significant information about a topic relevant to helping improve the lives of Old Lesbians i.e. important health or other information gathered by the federal government or researchers undertaking a federal grant which will ultimately be used to provide services or important information to Old Lesbians.

Involving Old Lesbians in The Research Process:

Researchers who wish to study Old Lesbians must involve Old Lesbians in the initial stages of the chosen research process by reading what Old Lesbians have written about issues that might pertain to the proposed research, by talking to Old Lesbians when and where possible and also to include Midlife Lesbians and other age Lesbians when appropriate to understanding the issues at hand, and asking for Old Lesbians' and/or other age Lesbians' input into the ideas that have motivated the researcher to undertake the study of interest. If a grant is involved, it is the ethical responsibility of the researcher to consider hiring an Old Lesbian or several Old Lesbians to help in as many ways possible with the furtherance of the research process. The Founders of OLOC, Barbara MacDonald and Shevy Healy in particular set the precedent in encouraging involvement of Old Lesbians in any research project that involved themselves as "subjects" of that research.

Steps to Follow:

1. First, the individual pursuing the research needs to contact the OLOC Research Gatekeeper (Sharon Raphael, Ph.D.) to ask for permission to conduct the research. That person can be reached at or at 562-420-3555. All requested information should be submitted in writing. Further address information will be shared upon request.

2. The interested researcher shall submit her name, research affiliation, and contact information and shall include a brief proposal stating her reasons for wanting to undertake the research, underlying assumptions or hypotheses, concepts or framework guiding the proposed research, the type of research methods to be used, interview schedule or questionnaire to be used, and a tentative timeline for conducting the research. It will be mandatory that a copy of the University or Agency Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the researcher to conduct the research shall be provided to the OLOC Gatekeeper as well as a copy of the Human Consent Form to be used by the researcher.

3. Access to the OLOC website for the purpose of conducting the research shall be approved in writing by the Research Gatekeeper. Part of the approval will require the researcher to show the Gatekeeper any changes in the research design that occurs during the research process. OLOC expects a copy of the results of the research study. This can be submitted to the Research Gatekeeper at

4. If the research is not approved, this does not mean that the Research Gatekeeper will not provide useful information that may help the interested researcher in her quest for supportive ideas and information related to her topic. There may be other venues or sites that may be useful to the interested party. Such information will be provided by the Gatekeeper when possible. In order to protect OLOC members from excessive or bothersome requests from researchers, only the most worthy of research projects from the standpoint of OLOC will be approved. If the research is not approved, it means the researcher will not have access to the OLOC web site or Newsletter to advertise the proposed research. In no case, even when approved, will the researcher be given access to OLOC's Directory of member names and addresses.

For more information on this subject see this article from the December 2007 issue of The Reporter.


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