Frequently Asked Questions

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  • The Project:

1. What is the research title?

The Historical Origins and Development of the Neo-Zoroastrian Movement: An ethnographic study of Neo-Zoroastrian settlements. 

2. What type of research project is this?

The doctoral program aspect of the project lays a major emphasis on Neo-Zoroastrians and their interaction with the Zoroastrian communities in Europe and North America. Simultaneously, the Project attempts to generate census data of Neo-Zoroastrians globally and other trends through the same questionnaire survey which is available to Zoroastrians worldwide through this website.

3. What is the duration of the project?

2019-2023

4. Who are Neo-Zoroastrians & Zoroastrians?

The Neo Zoroastrian Project uses the term 'Neo-Zoroastrians' to refer to those Zoroastrians who were born into a family where both parents, i.e. mother and father, are/were non-Zoroastrians, to facilitate a smooth process of data collection and to avoid overlap.

The term 'Zoroastrian' is used in the project to refer to Zoroastrian adherents who were born into a family where at least one parent-mother or father-is a Zoroastrian. It is important to note that the project classifies a child born to an intermarried couple — irrespective of the Zoroastrian spouse's gender — as a Zoroastrian because the child has immediate Zoroastrian origins, irrespective of the Navjote / Soodreh-Pooshi ceremony being conducted.

5. Who is funding the project?

There are no direct sponsors providing funding for the project. The researcher has received upright scholarships and loan scholarships from SOAS and other external Zoroastrian Trusts to support the tuition fees, maintenance costs, and other expenses the student would incur while undertaking one year of MA and four years of Ph.D. program. ​

  • Project Participation:

6. Do I have to take part?

Although as a Zoroastrian you are encouraged to participate in the project that will help formulate the demographic composition of the neo-Zoroastrian community and identify the challenges and interactions between the Neo-Zoroastrians and Zoroastrians globally, your involvement in the project as a participant is voluntary.

7. Will I be kept anonymous in the project?

Yes, the project will anonymise the identity of the participants throughout the process of writing and publishing the research to ensure maximum participation from around the world. The online questionnaire was designed with the anonymisation factor in mind, whereby the participant does not need to share identifiable information. The researcher will anonymise the participants' information in instances of audiovisual interviews.

 

8. Will I be asked to let go of my right to remain anonymous?

If you are a facilitator who is instrumental at initiating people into Zoroastrianism; a policymaker; a religious authority, a public figure, etc. the researcher might request to use your real identity during the research through a consent form. In such cases, the ultimate authority lies with you (participants) and you can refuse to give the consent.


If you are a facilitator who is instrumental in initiating people into Zoroastrianism; a policy-maker; a religious authority, a public figure, etc., the researcher may ask to use your real identity through a consent form during the research. The ultimate authority in such cases lies with you (participants), and you may refuse to give the consent.

9. Can I withdraw from the project?

If you are participating in the questionnaire survey, it will be in an anonymised format and it would not be possible for the researcher to identify your answers and remove it from the overall responses.

If you have participated in other forms of the study, i.e. through audio-visual interviews, being filmed or photographed, etc., you will be able to withdraw from the research by notifying the researcher within fourteen days of the date you gave your consent. If for any reason you intend to withdraw from the research after the fourteen-day period has lapsed, you can discuss your concerns with the researcher and thereby reach a consensus. In these cases, the right to withdraw will be upheld and all data related to you will be destroyed by the researcher.

10. What will happen to me if I take part?

You will be able to answer a detailed online questionnaire as a participant; engage in an audio-visual or audio-only interview; share photos , videos, and other material from your collection to help the project, with sufficient credits on your behalf; allow the researcher to attend ceremonies and other community meetings to observe socio-cultural and religious practices. You won't receive any monetary compensation for your participation in the research.

11. Will I be recorded during an in-person or online interview? How will the recordings be used?

If you engage in an audio-visual interview or just an audio interview with the researcher, the conversation will be recorded in one of the multimedia formats. On request, the researcher will transcribe the interview and share with you a copy of the transcribed text, before using it for research and presentation. For the purpose of the research, the transcribed text and the audio-visual interview will be analysed and your identity anonymised while quoting verbatim. You can be photographed or filmed with your prior authorisation.  The pictures will be shared with you before they are used for research and presentation to seek your consent. You can ask the researcher to blur your face in cases where you are in a group picture or a video and would like to hide your identity.

12.  What are the risks and benefits of participation?

Your participation in the Project will help provide a breakthrough in the ethnographic study of contemporary Zoroastrianism. Your participation as a Neo-Zoroastrian will be crucial as it will help to estimate the global demographic composition of Zoroastrians who have chosen to adopt the Zoroastrian identity by choice. It will facilitate a study that will inform the broader Zoroastrian community and academia of the motivations of Neo-Zoroastrians to adopt Zoroastrianism, their socio-cultural and religious practices, and other characteristics.

As a Zoroastrian, who was born in a Zoroastrian household, your participation will contribute to the understanding of the challenges of interaction between the Neo-Zoroastrians and Zoroastrians. ​

 

Since the identity of participants will be anonymised throughout the research, there’s no foreseeable risk of participating in the project.

  • Data Management Plan:

13. What will happen to the results of the research project?

The results of the research will be published in the form of a Ph.D. thesis which will be made Open Access via the internet. The findings will also be used to write articles for academic journals and other news media platforms. The findings will be presented at academic conferences, Zoroastrian Congresses, and other platforms deemed appropriate by the researcher. Throughout the process, the anonymisation norm will apply.

14. Who will have access to the data?

SOAS, University of London, as the project's data controller, will have access to the data for the duration of the project (2019-2023). The data shared with SOAS, University of London will be anonymised by the researcher, i.e. the participant's identifiable information will not be used, unless the researcher has requested permission from the informant through a consent document in specific situations that have been discussed above. ​


The project's external funders, i.e. outside of SOAS, University of London will have no access to or control over the data collected. The outcome of the project will be provided to these external organisations in the form of a written text of the thesis with photographic material that will also be made public over the Internet via Open Access.

15. Where will the information I provide be transferred to?

The data will be transferred to the United Kingdom and will be regulated in accordance with the rules governing the use of personal data by the UK based institutions as set out in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018).

16. How will the information I provide be kept secure?

The information will be stored on password-protected drives and folders and on a safe cloud base storage platform at SOAS, University of London. The data will not be carried to sensitive regions of the world where the data protection laws do not comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK Data Protection Act (2018) requirements.

17. How long the data will be stored by the researcher?

The researcher will retain the data in its anonymised form for an indefinite period. For the data that has not been anonymised and is needed for a new research project, the researcher will approach the participants with new project details and obtain their renewed consent.

18. Whom to contact if something goes wrong?

The participants can write to the researcher to share their concerns. If their grievances are not satisfactorily addressed by the researcher, the participant can reach out to the members of the supervisory committee, viz. Professor Almut Hintze <ah69@soas.ac.uk> and Dr. Nima Mina <nm46@soas.ac.uk> at SOAS.

  • SOAS Data Protection Privacy Notice:

The data controller for this project will be the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. The SOAS Data Protection Officer provides oversight of SOAS activities involving the processing of personal data.

Your personal data will be processed for the purposes outlined in this Information Sheet/FAQs. The legal basis that would be used to process your personal data under data protection legislation is the performance of a task in the public interest or in our official authority as a controller. However. for ethical reasons, we need your consent to take part in this research project. You can provide your consent for the use of your personal data in this project by completing the consent form that has been provided for you or via an audio recording of the information sheet and consent form content.

  • Your Rights


You have the right to request access under the General Data Protection Regulation to the information which SOAS holds about you. Further information about your rights under the Regulation and how SOAS handles personal data is available on the Data Protection pages of the SOAS website and by contacting the  Information Compliance Manager  at the following address: Information Compliance Manager, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG, United Kingdom.

If you are concerned about how your personal data is being processed, please contact SOAS Information Compliance Manager  <dataprotection@soas.ac.uk> in the first instance. If you remain unsatisfied, you may wish to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Contact details, and details of data subject rights, are available on the ICO website.