Informed Consent

Prior to conducting research (except research involving only anonymous surveys, naturalistic observations, or similar research), researchers enter into an agreement with participants that clarifies the nature of the research. Participants are informed of all features of the research that might influence their willingness to participate. Further, researchers respect each participant's freedom to decline to participate in research or discontinue participation at any time for any reason and without penalty.

Please refer to the sample Informed Consent documents (written and oral) posted on this site.
While most proposals will require a process for obtaining informed consent, in some cases, especially for projects that involve deception, fully informed consent may not be practical. The Board may approve a consent procedure that does not include, or alters any or all of the elements of informed consent, if and only if:

  • The research involves no more than minimal risk to the subjects;
  • The waiver or alteration of informed consent will not adversely affect the rights and welfare of the subjects;
  • The research could not be carried out practicably without the waiver or alteration of informed consent.

When appropriate, the subjects will be provided additional pertinent information about the research after they have participated.

Audio and Video Taping
When researchers audio/video tape subjects, the Board requires a signed consent form. But some subjects would be reluctant to sign an official form. This should be explained in the application, and the Board will consider alternative means of documenting consent such as obtaining verbal consent on the tape. Subjects must be informed of their rights, confidentiality, and all other aspects of consent.
Further information about the requirements for documenting informed consent is available at the OHRP site.

Please consult with the Board if you need advice about specific requirements for obtaining informed consent orally or in writing.