When you are collecting data with human subjects ‘informed consent’ is an essential principle. It means that a participant in your research should have sufficient information before making their own free decisions. You should inform potential participants about potential risks and benefits of participation, as well as reassuring them that they are free to withdraw from your research without consequence at any time.
A written template is shown below.
Of course you don’t have to use the exact text below, but it is important to include it’s core components in your statement:
- make sure to identify yourself and your institute
- explain why the research is being conducted,
- describe what the participant is asked to do and how much time that will take them and what you will use the data for,
- make it clear that participation os voluntary and that the participant can withdraw at any time. If you are conducting a survey you could also write ‘You are free to skip any questions you are not comfortable answering’,
- explain how you will handle the data to ensure confidentiality and anonymity
- provide your contact details
Informed consent template
You are invited to participate in a research study titled [Name of your research]. This study is conducted by [Name of Researcher(s)] from [Name of Institute/Organisation].
Before you decide whether or not to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take the time to read the following information carefully.
The purpose of this research study is [briefly explain the research], as part of this we would like to [explain your data collection method] that will take approximately [XX] minutes of your time. The data will be used to […].
Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time.
We believe there are no known risks associated with this research study; however, as with any activity that involves data collection the risk of a breach is always possible. To the best of our ability your answers in this study will remain confidential. We will minimise any risks by [describe how you will safely store data, how confidentiality will be secured and how it will be anonymised].
By [action] you agree to participate in this study.
Thank you for taking the time to go through this information. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this research please get in touch with [Contact details]