David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethics and Behavior 1 (4):239 – 252 (1991)
Researchers typically attempt to fulfill disclosure and informed consent requirements by having participants read and sign consent forms. The present study evaluated the reading levels of informed consent forms used in psychology research and other fields (medical research; social science and education research; and health, physical education, and recreation research). Two standardized measures of readability were employed to analyze a randomly selected sample (N = 108) of informed consent forms used in Institutional Review Board-approved research projects at a midwestern university during the 1987-1988 academic year. Results indicate that informed consent forms are typically written at a higher reading level than is appropriate for the intended population and that there are no consistently significant differences in readability among areas of research or between college student and noncollege student participants. Due to the unacceptably high reading level of the consent forms, one must question whether participants can comprehend the information contained in the consent forms.
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Citations of this work BETA
Ana Iltis (2006). Lay Concepts in Informed Consent to Biomedical Research: The Capacity to Understand and Appreciate Risk. Bioethics 20 (4):180–190.
Norman G. Poythress (2002). Obtaining Informed Consent for Research: A Model for Use with Participants Who Are Mentally Ill. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 30 (3):367-374.
Pamela Valera, Stephanie Cook, Ruth Macklin & Yvonne Chang (2014). Conducting Health Disparities Research with Criminal Justice Populations: Examining Research, Ethics, and Participation. Ethics and Behavior 24 (2):164-174.
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