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Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on one of the categories below to view questions and answers. If you have additional questions that have not been answered here, please contact us. 

  • What is research? What is a research study?
    Research is a way for us to answer questions about the world around us. When you ask yourself a question, such as "What is the best boba shop in Boston?" you likely do some research to try and figure out the answer. You might search your question on a search engine like Google or read reviews from different sources like Yelp. You may then evaluate which source is the most credible. For example, you would probably trust a review more from someone who's tried every boba shop in Boston than someone who has never tried boba before. By gathering this information and evaluating which one is the most credible, you are hoping to answer your question in a way that is well-informed. You want to make sure that the answer you find is not just a random guess. As researchers, we follow a very similar process. Put simply, our job is to ask questions and try to figure out the answer. In particular, we try to answer questions that we may not necessarily have a scientific answer for yet. For example, the BOBA Project team is asking questions like "How do Chinese/Taiwanese teens and their parents/guardians feel about what it means to be Asian/Asian American? And how may their perspectives influence their physical and mental well-being?" To answer our questions, researchers create research studies to collect information. In the BOBA Project, we are trying to learn different perspectives and experiences through surveys and Zoom sessions. By collecting information, we can answer questions in a way that is well-informed and backed up by evidence.
  • What do researchers do with the information that you collect?
    As researchers, we first collect information. Then, we organize, analyze, and interpret it so that we can answer questions, predict trends, or solve problems. In this way, we can create new knowledge, provide evidence for new policies and programs, and document things that are happening in the world around us. We then share our findings in a variety of ways, such as writing reports or talking to community members. In particular, the BOBA Project team has shared research findings about the experiences of Asians/Asian Americans, such as how the pandemic has affected the well-being of Asian/Asian American youth. You can see some examples of our research findings on Asian American families here.
  • How will a research study make a difference in our community?
    By conducting a research study, we will be able to collect information to raise awareness about the unique experiences of Asians/Asian Americans, we will be able to record and document the perspectives of Chinese/Taiwanese teens and their parents/guardians. Importantly, we can begin to create evidence-based answers for questions many families may have, such as: How can I better support my teen as an Asian/Asian American living in the United States? How can I help my parent/guardian better understand how I feel about important Asian American issues happening in the world today? How can I talk about my experiences as an Asian/Asian American, such as experiencing anti-Asian discrimination or facing racial stereotypes? By answering questions like these, we can provide evidence to support new programs and policies that address current issues facing the Asian/Asian American community. We can also help schools and organizations develop strategies to serve the unique needs of Asian/Asian American youth. Our team is working in close collaboration with local community organizations, school districts, student-run clubs, and our Youth Advisory Board to ensure that the BOBA Project can have a positive, long-term impact on the Asian/Asian American community.
  • Who is conducting this research study?
    This research study is being conducted by the Developmental Risk and Cultural Resilience Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The research team is led by principal investigators Dr. Cindy Liu and Dr. Tiffany Yip, researchers with over 20 years of experience conducting research with Asian/Asian American families. This work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the largest medical research agency in the United States (NIMH 1R21HD107512-01A1, NIMH 1R01 MH129360-01).
  • Why are you conducting this research study?
    As a team of Asian/Asian American researchers, we know first-hand about the challenges faced by our community, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past few years, our team had more conversations with our family members, friends and coworkers about the experience of being Asian/Asian American. Inspired by these conversations, we established the BOBA Project to try to gain a better understanding of how Asian/Asian American teens and their parents/guardians feel about issues related to Asian/Asian American identity (e.g., stereotypes, anti-Asian discrimination). Through online surveys and Zoom sessions facilitated by our staff, we hope to learn from the unique experiences of Asian/Asian American families. Our goals are to: Provide a space for teens and their parents to share their perspectives about being Asian/Asian American. Uplift Asian/Asian American voices in conversations about racial/ethnic identity. Build bonds—not just between teens and their parents/guardians—but also between researchers and the community. Make a positive, lasting impact on the well-being of Asian/Asian American teens and their families. You can read more about our story here.
  • What activities are involved in the BOBA Project?
    Teens and their parents/guardians will be asked to complete: Two online surveys (30 minutes each) A parent-teen virtual activity session (1 hour) A follow-up feedback survey (10 minutes) Depending on the age of the participating teen, we may ask you to complete additional study activities, including a peer virtual activity session. Please view more information about the study activities here.
  • Who can participate in the BOBA Project?
    For the BOBA Project, we are looking for Chinese/Taiwanese American teens and their parents/guardians who live in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Teens and their parents/guardians are eligible to participate whether or not they were born in the United States. Click here to view more details about the eligibility criteria. We encourage all eligible families to participate! Note that we are starting recruitment with Chinese/Taiwanese American families, but plan to expand the project to include other Asian/Asian American groups in the future.
  • Will I be paid to participate?
    All participants will be compensated for their time and participation. Families who participate in the BOBA Project will receive up to a total of $120 in gift cards and BOBA-related prizes upon completion of study activities. To view more information about compensation, please click here.
  • How much time does it take for me to participate? Do I have to participate multiple times?
    Participating in the BOBA Project will only take about two hours of your time. You will be asked to do two online surveys (30 min each, 1 hour total), a virtual activity session over Zoom (1 hour), and a short follow up survey (10 min). We will only ask you to do this once. Note that if the participating teen is between 12-15, we may invite you to complete additional study activities (e.g., a 1 hour peer virtual activity session) or optional study activities (e.g., 10 min hair collection). We also may invite you to come back and do the study activities again next year. However, participating in research is completely voluntary, meaning that you do not have to complete these study activities if you do not want to.
  • Can all study activities be completed online?
    Yes, all study activities in the BOBA Project can be completed online, including the surveys and virtual activity sessions. Virtual activity sessions will be conducted via Zoom, an online video conferencing platform. You can download Zoom here.
  • Can study activities be done in Chinese?
    Yes, all study activities can be done in Chinese! On the screener survey, we will ask which language you would like to use for each of the study activities. We can accommodate families who: Read English, Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese Speak English, Mandarin Chinese, or Cantonese
  • Do we have to do all the activities or can we just do some of them?
    Participation in research is completely voluntary. This means that you can skip any questions you don't want to answer, only participate in the research activities that you want to do, and leave the study at any time.
  • How will you protect my information?
    We take confidentiality very seriously. All of the information we collect is confidential, meaning that it is not shared with anyone outside of our research team. Only members of our research team can view your survey responses and recordings of your virtual activity sessions. We will not share your answers with anyone, including your family. Information that can identify you, such as your name and email, will be stored securely and separately from your responses. We will also remove names and any other identifiable information from virtual activity session recordings. All recordings will be labeled with a code. If we write up a report about our research, anything that we share cannot be traced back to you or your family.
  • What questions are you going to ask in the surveys?
    In the surveys, we hope to learn your honest opinions about current issues and experiences as an Asian/Asian American. We will ask you a variety of questions related to your opinions, life experiences, relationships, identity, and health and wellbeing.
  • Why do study activities vary depending on the age of the teen?
    We received additional funding for families with teens who are age 12-15. This means that we can do additional study activities with these families, such as peer virtual activity sessions, and we can also invite these families to come back and participate in the BOBA Project next year. You can view more details about the different study activities here.
  • What exactly is the virtual activity session?
    The virtual activity session is a 1-hour Zoom session with a member of our research team. During this session, teens and their parent/guardians will do a guided conversation activity about different topics related to Asian.Asian American identity. During the session, we will show you three scenarios and you will be asked to share with each other your reactions and what you would do if you were in that situation. We hope that participating in the virtual activity session will be a meaningful and interesting experience that you can do together with your family member. The BOBA Project offers you a unique and fun opportunity to share your perspectives and opinions with your family member. During your session, we create a space for you to have conversations about topics related to Asian/Asian American identity, some that you may have never discussed with each other before. This is a chance for you to learn more about your family member's life experiences!
  • Why are the virtual activity sessions recorded?
    We record all of the sessions so our team can look back at these conversations. Note that we do not analyze any of the recordings individually. Instead, we compare responses between all families who participate in this study. This is so we can learn about the range of perspectives that teens and their parents/guardians may have regarding Asian/Asian American identity. Your participation is confidential so your names and any identifying information will be removed from the recording. These recordings can only be viewed by members of our research team.
  • What kind of scenarios will you show us during the virtual activity session?
    All of the scenarios that we will show you during your session will be situations related to Asian American identity. Here's an example scenario: It is the beginning of the school year and your teacher asks everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves to the class. After you introduce yourself, the teacher says, “I don’t understand how to pronounce your name. Can you say your name again?” You say your name again, but the teacher continues to pronounce your name incorrectly. When you correct them, they say, “Your name is too difficult. Can I just call you _________?” How would you feel if this happened to you? What would you do if you were in this situation?
  • For the virtual activity session, do we need to be together or can we log on from different devices?
    For the virtual activity session, we would prefer if you both could sit side-by-side and do the virtual activity session together in-person (i.e., log on from one device). However, we are happy to accommodate if you have to be in different places and need to log on from different devices!
  • Are study staff available to do virtual activity sessions on evenings or weekends?
    Yes! We know families have busy schedules with balancing school, work, and extracurricular activities. Our team will be able to meet at times that work best for families, including evenings and weekends.
  • At home, we speak both English and Mandarin/Cantonese. Which language should we use for the virtual activity session?
    We understand that lots of Chinese/Taiwanese families use both English and Mandarin/Cantonese at home. When you are selecting the language for the virtual activity session, you are choosing the language that the staff will use to provide instructions and guidance. Please pick whatever language both of you feel most comfortable understanding. You are welcome to talk with each other in another language if you need to during the session at any time.
  • I am a teen who is interested in participating, but I do not want to participate with my parent/guardian. Can I still participate?
    Unfortunately, this study requires that all teens participate in the BOBA Project with a parent/guardian. Keep in mind, that if you do not want to participate with your parent/guardian, you are able to participate with any adult that is involved in your day-to-day care and meets the eligibility criteria.
  • I am a teen who is interested in participating, but my parent/guardian does not speak English. Can I still participate?
    Yes, your parents can still participate even if they do not speak English! You can take your surveys in English and your parent/guardian can take their surveys in Chinese. We can also do virtual activity sessions in Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese!
  • I am a teen who is biracial or multiracial. Am I eligible to participate?
    Yes, biracial and multiracial teens are eligible to participate! Note that biracial and multiracial teens must have one parent/guardian that is of full Chinese/Taiwanese descent. You can view more information about eligibility here.
  • I am a teen who is eligible and I am only interested in participating in the virtual activity session with a friend. Can I still participate?
    Unfortunately, no. Eligible teens must participate in the parent-teen study activities before being invited to do another virtual activity session with their friend.
  • I am a Chinese/Taiwanese teen who immigrated to the United States. Am I eligible to participate, even if I do not identify as Chinese/Taiwanese American?
    Yes! We encourage Chinese/Taiwanese teens from all backgrounds to participate, including those who are first generation (i.e., have immigrated to the United States)! You do not have to identify as Chinese/Taiwanese American, so long that you have Chinese/Taiwanese heritage. Please see more about the eligibility criteria here.
  • I am a teen who is interested in participating, but I am worried about my parent/guardian learning about personal information that I am not comfortable sharing with them.
    Your participation in the study is completely confidential, which means that all of the information that you share with us is kept private. We will not share any of your information, including your mental health, with your parent/guardian or any of your family members. Only members of our study team can view your responses to the BOBA Project surveys. During the virtual activity session, we will NOT ask you to share any sensitive information with your parent/guardian. You may be asked to share some of your previous experiences with us, but sharing is completely voluntary and you can choose to not share if you would like to. There is only one exception to this. If you share with us that you want to hurt yourself or others, we are required to report that information to your parent/guardian.
  • I am a teen who is eligible to participate, but I am not sure if I have something to contribute to this research study. I don't feel like I am the prototypical Asian/Asian American teen and/or I feel like I don't have a lot of experiences related to Asian/Asian American identity (e.g., I have never directly experienced overt racism).
    We welcome ALL teens who are eligible to participate, even if you do not feel that you are the prototypical Asian/Asian American teen and/or you feel like you don't have a lot of unique experiences related to Asian American identity. There is a misconception that all Asian/Asian American teens have the exact same feelings and experiences. But that is not true! By collecting information through the BOBA Project, we hope to raise awareness about how diverse and unique the perspectives of Asian/Asian American teens are. We value ALL of your experiences and believe that each and every one of them are important. We also believe that every teen has a unique experience related to Asian/Asian American identity, even if they have never directly experienced anything like overt racism. Every teen has lots of experiences related to Asian identity and we hope to learn about them! For example: Have you ever witnessed anything racist happen to one of your friends? Have you ever talked with your parent about Asian/Asian American identity? Have you seen posts about Asian/Asian American identity on social media? How do you feel about current issues that affect Asians/Asian Americans? And even if you don't have these experiences, we want to learn about that too. For these reasons, we encourage you to participate and have your voice heard!
  • I am a teen age 16-18 and I am interested in doing a virtual activity session with my friend. Can I do one?
    Unfortunately, no. We only received additional funding to do peer sessions with teens who are between 12-15 years old. We hope to receive additional funding in the future so that we can do peer sessions with teens who are 16-18 as well!
  • I am a teen who was invited to do a peer session with my friend. What do I do?
    We will ask you to do a peer session with your friend (1 hour) and two 30-minute surveys (1 hour total). You can view additional information about your study activities here. If you are interested in doing the session with your friend, please click here to enroll.
  • I am a teen who was invited by a friend to do a peer session. Am I eligible to participate even if I am not Chinese/Taiwanese?
    Yes, if you are a teen who was invited by a friend to participate in a peer virtual activity session with them, you do not have to be Chinese/Taiwanese. This is the eligibility criteria for teens who are participating as an invited friend: Identify as Asian/Asian American (e.g., Chinese/Taiwanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Korean, Filipino, Japanese, Pakistani, etc.) Live in Massachusetts, New York, or New Jersey Do not live in the same household as the friend who invited you Are not a sibling of the friend who invited you (including half-sibling or step-sibling)
  • I am a teen who was invited by my friend to do a peer session and I am also interested in participating in the BOBA Project with my parent/guardian. Can I participate?
    If you were invited by a friend to do a peer session and you are eligible to enroll in the BOBA Project (check if you are eligible here), we welcome you to also participate with your parent/guardian! If you are interested in this, please contact us as soon as possible and we can get you started. You can also let the study staff member who is running your peer virtual activity session know and they can provide you with next steps.
  • I am a teen and I am not eligible to participate, but I am interested in getting involved with the BOBA Project!
    We thank you for your interest! You can sign up for our email newsletter here. You can also follow us on Instagram @thebobaprojectbwh to keep up with our research activities. If you are interested in other ways to get involved, please contact us! We regularly work with students, even if they are not eligible for the study!
  • I am a parent/guardian with 2 or more eligible teens interested in participating. Can they all participate with me?
    Each participant who enrolls in the BOBA Project may only participate once. If you have two eligible teens, please only choose one to participate in the study with. We recommend that: Parents/guardians with two teens between 12-18: participate with the youngest child Parents/guardians who have two teens between 12-15, participate with the oldest child However, if more than 2 teens would like to participate: one teen can participate in the project with you, while the other teen(s) may also participate in the study with another eligible parent/guardian. You can confirm if another parent/guardian is also eligible to participate here.
  • I am not a parent/guardian, but I am the primary caregiver of an eligible teen. Can I participate with them?
    Yes, we welcome primary caregivers to participate! We want to better understand how teens have conversations with those who matter most to them, so we encourage the participation of all eligible adults who are involved in their day-to-day care, including grandparents, older siblings, aunts or uncles, etc. You can confirm eligibility here.
  • I am a parent/guardian of a teen who was invited to do a peer session with their friend. What are they going to do?
    You can view information about study activities for teens who were invited to do a peer session with their friend here.
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