An empirical study on the preferred size of the participant information sheet in research

Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (9):557-562 (2011)
Background Informed consent is a requirement for all research. It is not, however, clear how much information is sufficient to make an informed decision about participation in research. Information on an online questionnaire about childhood development was provided through an unfolding electronic participant sheet in three levels of information. Methods 552 participants, who completed the web-based survey, accessed and spent time reading the participant information sheet (PIS) between July 2008 and November 2009. The information behaviour of the participants was investigated. The first level contained less information than might be found on a standard PIS, the second level corresponded to a standard PIS, and the third contained more information than on a standard PIS. The actual time spent on reading the information provided in three incremental levels and the participants' evaluation of the information were calculated. Results 77% of the participants chose to access the first level of information, whereas 12% accessed the first two levels, 6% accessed all three levels of information and 23% participated without accessing information. The most accessed levels of information were those that corresponded to the average reading times. Conclusion The brief information provided in the first level was sufficient for participants to make informed decisions, while a sizeable minority of the participants chose not to access any information at all. This study adds to the debate about how much information is required to make a decision about participation in research and the results may help inform the future development of information sheets by providing data on participants' actual needs when deciding about questionnaire surveys
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/jme.2010.041871
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Craig Lawson (1995). Research Participation as a Contract. Ethics and Behavior 5 (3):205 – 215.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

17 ( #161,520 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #211,515 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.