Please help!

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Judith Simpson is a PhD student in the School of Design at the University of Leeds. 

She is researching the way in which the dead body is dressed, ‘styled’ and presented and how (or even if) this relates to what people believe about life and death. 

Here is Judith’s appeal to YOU: 

I am asking a number of funerary professionals for their observations on how customers ask their loved ones to be presented and for any opinions on why these requests are made. I would be extremely grateful if you could respond to the survey on the link below. If you are able to share the survey with colleagues in the industry that would be wonderful. I would also be delighted to capture the opinions of retired funerary professionals who may have witnessed significant change over their careers. 

There is a statement attached which explains the project and how its findings will be used; this has been approved by the University’s Ethics Committee and I trust it will allay any of your concerns. 

Before you take the survey, please read the statement below, which has been approved by the University’s Ethics Committee.  

The link to the survey is here: 



Informed Consent Form 

An Investigation Into Current Trends in Presenting and Viewing the Dead Body 

Purpose of the Study:

This is a study of contemporary social practices that is being conducted by Judith Simpson, a research student at the University of Leeds.  The purpose of this study is to examine what people of the early twenty first century believe to be the most appropriate way of dealing with the body between death and the point of burial or cremation.  My particular interest is in the way that the body is dressed and presented for viewing by family and friends.  I am interested in both the memories of people who have been involved in these processes and the opinions of the community in the widest sense.

What will be done:

You will complete one of a series of surveys, which will take 15-20 minutes to complete. The survey may include questions about

  • your own experience of arrangements made following a death
  • your opinions on historical practices or those of different cultures
  • your thoughts on ‘ideal’ funerary practices
  • your ideas about what specific customs might mean
  • your ideas about what happens when we die

I may also ask for some demographic information (e.g. age, gender, religious belief) so that I can consider whether, for example, the insights of women are different from those of men, or whether age has an influence on ideas about death).

Benefits of this Study:

You will be contributing to knowledge about how death is currently understood in Britain, and about the arrangements that ordinary families make in times of bereavement. 

Risks or discomforts:

No risks or discomforts are anticipated from taking part in this study. If you feel uncomfortable with a question, you can skip that question. Your participation is greatly valued but is completely voluntary.


Your responses will be kept completely confidential. I will not know your IP address when you respond to an online survey.  I will only have access to your email address or other contact details should you choose to enter them in response to an invitation to participate in a follow up interview.  If you do provide contact details these will only be used by the researcher and will not be disclosed to any third party.

The survey does not ask you to provide your name, and should any comments that you make be published in research papers you will be identified by a participant number only.

How the findings will be used:

The results of the study will be used for scholarly purposes only. The results from the study will be presented in educational settings and at professional conferences, and the results might be published in a professional journal.

Contact information:

If you have concerns or questions about this study, please contact Judith Simpson at or one of the project supervisors, Professor Efrat Tsëelon ( or Dr Judith Tucker (

By beginning the survey, you acknowledge that you have read this information and agree to participate in this research, with the knowledge that you are free to withdraw your participation at any time


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