Psychology Department Student Research Handbook
Informed consent forms are documents used to inform potential study participants so that they can decide whether or not they want to participate in the study. All informed consent forms should address the following content: key information, procedures, risks, benefits, confidentiality, contact (information), research is always voluntary, place to sign (with a place for the printed name) and include the [email protected] email address for the SUU IRB. Maybe say, “You can send concerns about this research to [email protected]”.’
Consider how a potential participant would read your consent form. What would you want to know if you were considering participating in the study? Keep your language simple. Ideally, a grade 8 student could understand your consent form. You can check the reading level of your consent form in MS Word. To learn how to do this, Google “MS Word Flesch-Kincaid Instructions”. Images, diagrams and other visual aids are great for consent forms. Exclude jargon (technical terms), or better yet include and define them (perhaps in parentheses :-). Review your consent form carefully to ensure it is consistent, accurate, and as short and simple as possible.
No exculpatory language is allowed. That is, you cannot say (a) that the participants waive any rights, or (b) that the researcher, sponsor, institution, school, or its agents are not responsible for any adverse effects of their research. .
As a general rule, you should assume that all adults and children 7 years and older are able to provide documented (signed) consent. Note that even younger children give their consent. For example, after providing a simple description of what they are going to do, a child may agree to do it. Then, if the child seems to want to stop, he no longer consents. You must immediately stop their participation. If a baby starts crying, he is done with the study.
The principal investigator(s) are accountable even when asking others for informed consent. If the principal investigator(s) are graduate or undergraduate students, then their faculty supervisor(s) are responsible.
If your research presents particular problems, you can request waivers that allow exceptions to the general rules applied by the IRBs, including for consent. To request a waiver, tell the IRB what you want to do and justify your request with solid reasons and/or evidence.
For in-person research, researchers should bring one copy for participants to sign and give to the researcher, and another copy for participants to keep. For online research, the home page of the study is usually the informed consent form. For online studies, instead of a signature, participants usually provide consent either by typing their name in a text box or by following instructions such as “Click the Continue button if you choose to do this study “.
It is a concise and focused summary of the most useful information about your research project. Include information that may help people understand if they want to participate in your study. Make this information easy to understand. This section is mandatory for all research submissions beginning in Fall 2020.
- It should be near the top of your consent form.
- This short paragraph should summarize these ideas:
- It is a research study.
- Why research is valuable. That’s why you do it.
- What the participants will do.
- Expected risks, costs, benefits and/or compensation for participants.
- How long the study will take the participants.
- Participation is voluntary.
- You don’t need to repeat the same information later.
- A very short consent form can consist of only key information. If more details are not needed later, you can exclude these sections.
- However, if you need to provide more detail on a topic, include additional sections, such as the following. Note that all of the following topics must be addressed on your consent form in the key information and/or their own sections.