Good Will Hunting: The impact of cynicism on the capacity for a university to build social capital.
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Good Will Hunting: The impact of cynicism on the capacity for a university to build social capital.

Human Research Ethics Approval Number: H19REA257

Research Team Contact Details:

Principal Investigator Details Supervisor Details

Sarah Muller


Telephone:  (07)  4631 1066

Professor Jill Lawrence


Telephone:  (07)  4631 1004


This project is being undertaken as part of a PhD. The purpose of this project is to explore how increases in cynical attitudes of a university community, may lower a university's capacity to build social capital. Such cynicism could potentially lead to a society of cynical individualism which in turn, could contribute to the demise of democracy, a lack of civic mindedness and to a position of being disconnect from the world's crises; essentially engendering a thought process of "I'm okay, nothing else matters". 

The researcher requests your assistance because you are a valuable member of the USQ community. Your input will assist to identify actions that could enable higher education institutions to enhance a university's capacity to build good will and civic courage between its community members and also more importantly, with a view to the global community.


Your participation will involve completion of an online questionnaire that will take approximately 15 minutes of your time.

The online questionnaire is divided into three sections:

  • Part 1: We ask you to tell us a little about yourself so we have a feel for who is participating in the survey
  • Part 2: We ask you to tell us your thoughts about being a member of the USQ community
  • Part 3: We ask you to tell us what you value about life in general.

Your participation in this project is entirely voluntary and you must be 18 years of age or older to participate. If you do not wish to take part, you are not obliged to. If you decide to take part and begin the questionnaire but change your mind half way through, you are free to withdraw from the project or alternatively submit what has already been completed any stage. Once you hit the SUBMIT button at the end of the questionnaire, you will be unable to withdraw data collected about yourself.

Your decision whether you take part, do not take part, or to take part and then withdraw, will in no way impact your current or future relationship with the University of Southern Queensland or the primary researcher.

Expected Benefits:

There are no direct benefits to you from taking this questionnaire; nor are there any costs, except for your time. However, this study may teach us all more about the way people think about both cynicism and good will. If you would like the results from the survey, you have access to them by contacting the lead researcher. This information will not be shared with anyone except the lead researcher.


In participating in the questionnaire, there are no anticipated risks beyond normal day-to-day living.

Privacy and Confidentiality:

All comments and responses will be treated confidentially. The names of individual persons are not required in any of the responses.

A Data Management Plan has been established in accordance with the University's Records Management Procedure and data will be stored on QRIS Cloud for a minimum of 5 years. Data stored will be non-identifiable and may be added to one of the categorised discipline data repositories with QRIS and reused by other researchers (including myself) on similar projects in the future, in accordance with 2.5.2 of the “Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research”.

Participants interested in the findings of this research may request a one or two page summary of findings via email or telephone contact (07) 4631 1066 with the primary researcher.

Any data collected as a part of this project will be stored securely as per University of Southern Queensland’s Research Data Management policy.

Consent to Participate:

Clicking on the ‘Next’ button at the end of this page is accepted as an indication of your consent to participate in this project.

Questions or Further Information about the Project:

Please refer to the Research Team Contact Details at the top of the page to have any questions answered or to request further information about this project.

Concerns or Complaints Regarding the Conduct of the Project:
If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the project, you may contact the University of Southern Queensland Manager of Research Integrity and Ethics on +61 7 4631 1839 or email The Manager of Research Integrity and Ethics is not connected with the research project and can facilitate a resolution to your concern in an unbiased manner.