The templates below were created to help you create the documents you will need to communicate to participants what they will do in the study. The documents you provide participants will range from recruitment materials to post-debrief consent forms, and you need to submit everything that you provide to a participant to our Board for review. For more information about the consent process see Consent.
Consent or Assent (signature required)
- General Consent Template: This form covers all of the basic elements that are required for a consent document. Even if you don't plan to use this exact document, refer to it to ensure that you have all of the appropriate elements in place in your consent procedure.
- Electronic Consent Template: This form is modeled after the General Consent Template with some modifications that make it more appropriate for an online format. For more information about this template, see Electronic Consent.
- Parent Consent: If you are including minors in your study, you will need to provide a consent form for parents and an age appropriate assent form for minors. This form is a guide for creating a parent informed consent document. This form can also be used as a guide for surrogate consent procedures.
- Minor Assent 13-17: This template provides the basic elements required for older minors to provide assent and could also be used as a model for higher functioning individuals with diminished mental capacity.
- Minor Assent 7-12: This template provides the basic elements required for younger minors to provide assent and could also be used as a model for higher functioning individuals with diminished mental capacity. For children younger than 7, assent forms are not required but include information in the consent section regarding what you will say to them about the study (where appropriate).
- Capacity to Consent Template: For some participant populations, it may be necessary to determine if a participant is able to provide consent; if not, a surrogate can be used (you will also need a surrogate consent form and participant assent form, similar to the parent/child consent/assent forms).
- GDPR Informed Consent Addendum: If you are collecting data from citizens of the European Union or the United Kingdom, you will need to provide additional information to your participants, per the GDPR. For more information, see the Research in an International Setting and/or Location and International Research Data Source.
Consent or Notification (no signature required)
- Study Information Sheet: While many studies do not require researchers to collected signed consent forms, we generally require that participants receive a Study Information Sheet to provide them with information about the study. This information can be provided as a paper document at the beginning of a survey.
- Electronic Study Information Page: This template is similar to the Study Information Sheet with modification for an electronic delivery. For more information about this template, see Electronic Consent.
- Parent Notification Template: Typically used for studies in an educational setting (particularly where the study is exempt but parent notification is still required), this template is a guide for creating a notification letter to send home to parents.
- Oral Consent Card: Typically used in anthropology studies where the participant may be uncomfortable with a form and/or unable to use it, the Oral Consent Card provides all of the elements required for consent in a bullet format so that the researcher can refer to each point as he or she is obtaining consent from the participant.
- Oral Consent Template: This form is also used in situations where the participant is uncomfortable with a form and/or unable to use it. It is more suited to non-anthropology research (though anthropologists are welcome to refer to it as well).
- Sample Debriefing Form: A debriefing form is a summary of the study given to a participant in a deception study and/or a study that includes students from a participant pool. The purpose is to educate participants about the study and to provide them with resources, particularly if the study is upsetting.
- Advertising Flyer Template: Recruitment materials are part of the consent process and it is important that participants are accurately informed about the study throughout the process. You are not required to use this flyer template (it is a model appropriate for a flyer posted around campus), but it is important that you follow the guide provided in Recruitment.
- ResearchMatch Advertising Template: The NIH funds a free and secure recruitment tool called ResearchMatch that helps to connect researchers with volunteers that are interested in participating in studies. If you are interested in using ResearchMatch to help advertise for your study, complete this ResearchMatch Advertising Template and upload.
Release (signature required)
- Materials Release Form: The data you collect from your participants may be useful in other spheres, such as an educational tool and/or library archive. Using data in this manner is beyond the scope of the study and you should seek additional permission to use the participant's data in this way. This form allows a participant to declare how they would like their materials to be used by the researcher if the researcher wants to use the materials in situations beyond the study.
- Data Release Form: This form is similar to the Post-Debrief Consent Form; it is used when a participant has been recorded or photographed without their knowledge.
- Post-Debrief Consent Form: This form is used in a deception study after the deception is revealed to the participant. The participant is given an opportunity to decide if they still want to participate after the true purpose of the study is revealed.
Tips for Writing a Consent Form and Using Templates
- The title of protocol must match the title on all consent forms. The title must be relevant, appropriate, and easy to understand. Include the project title on all pages of the consent form.
- List the page numbers on all pages of the consent form in the standard format: Page 1.
- Delete all colored text from the final copy of your form. The colored text is for explanation purposes only.
- Make sure that the form matches the descriptions in the protocol and vice versa.
- Include all relevant information in the consent form rather than referring to previous verbal explanations. The consent form should provide a complete explanation of what the participant is agreeing to do in the study.
- Be aware of the needs of the participant. Avoid using jargon and acronyms that the participant may not understand; make sure the reading comprehension level is appropriate.
- Do not use statements that make implicit demands on participants to participate, e.g., "You will enjoy and benefit from participating in this study."
- Prepare the consent forms in the standard format provided in the template, with all headings addressed. Use the standard language provided on the template where appropriate.
- Please proofread the consent forms for grammar and spelling errors.
- Do not use language that revokes a participant’s legal rights. A consent form is not a legal document.
- Do not require the participants to sign consent to long statements written in first person, e.g., “I agree to participate in this research study. I understand that the risks are minimal and that I will receive no benefits. I know how to withdraw from this study. I will receive $X in payment for participating. I understand that if I withdraw from the study before my participation is complete, I will receive prorated payment according to the following schedule . . . I agree not to hold the researchers liable for any injuries resulting from participation in this study. . .” DO ask participants to sign consent to a simple agreement statement at the end of the consent form: “I agree to participate in the research study described above.”