Investigators are responsible to discuss the research with subjects, and to document the subjects’ consent to participate. The consent process must be adapted to the decision-making needs of the subject.  Different studies--depending on degree of therapeutic benefit and risk--require different emphasis during the consent discussion. The consent form is an important part of this process and is intended to guide the investigator and subject in the consent process.

• Federal regulations describe the required elements of consent.

  1. A statement that the study involves research, an explanation of the purposes and the expected duration of the subject’s participation, and a description of the  procedures, noting any procedures which are experimental;
  2. A description of reasonably foreseeable risks or discomforts;
  3. A description of benefits to the subject or others that may reasonably be expected;
  4. Disclosure of appropriate alternative procedures or courses of treatment;
  5. A statement of the degree to which confidentiality of records identifying the subject will be maintained;
  6. For studies involving more than minimal risk, a description of any compensation that will be provided, and of medical treatments that are available in case of injury;
  7. Who to contact for answers to questions about the research, about research subjects’ rights, and about research-related injury;
  8. A statement that participation is voluntary, that refusal to participate will involve no penalty or loss of benefits to which the subject would otherwise be entitled

• There are additional elements that must be included if appropriate.

  1. A statement that there may be unforeseeable risks to the subject (or the embryo or fetus) if the subject is or may be pregnant;
  2. Anticipated circumstances under which the subject’s participation may be terminated without the subject’s consent;
  3. Additional costs that may accrue to the subject as a result of participation;
  4. Consequences of early withdrawal from the research, and procedures for orderly termination of participation in such an event;
  5. A statement that any significant new findings that may relate to the subject’s willingness to continue will be provided;
  6. The approximate number of subjects involved in the study.

• The requirement to obtain informed consent can be altered or waived if all of the following conditions pertain:

  1. The research involves no more than minimal risk to subjects;
  2. The waiver or alteration will not adversely affect the rights and welfare of subjects;
  3. The research could not practicably be carried out without the waiver or alteration; and
  4. When appropriate, subjects will be provided with additional pertinent information after participation.

Audio/Video Consent

If taping is required of all participants, it must be discussed in the main Consent Form under a separate subheading.

If taping is optional, a separate Consent Form is required for the taping component. It should be noted in the main Consent Form that a separate form will be provided.

In either case, informed consent depends upon providing subjects with a full description of the purpose, procedures, risks and benefits of audio- and/or videotaping.

  • Indicate the purpose of the tapes.

  • Indicate who will see or hear the tapes.

  • Indicate how long tapes will be kept (generally up to a maximum of 10 years).

  • Inform potential subjects that consent may be withdrawn at any time and that tapes can be erased either during or after the interview or procedure.

  • Indicate whether taping is a requirement of study participation.

  • If taping is not a requirement of study participation, the form should indicate that if the subject does not consent to be taped, or later decides to withdraw consent, it will not affect participation (or treatment, if applicable) in any way.

  • If tapes will be used for professional or educational purposes (e.g., meetings, presentations), this should be made clear and it should be specified that the subject's name will not be used. (If you intend to use a subject's name in connection with audio- or videotapes, you must provide a separate checkbox on the form to authorize the use of his or her name.)