The LGBT Health & Development Program

Youth Blog > What’s a Research Consent Form?

Posted on March 12th, 2013 by Brian J. in Featured, Youth Blog. 1 Comment

illustration of young man holding a consent form and scratching his head

Illustration by Brian J.

Ever wondered what a research consent form is or what that information even means? Well, this post will answer some of those questions! Not all consent forms look the same, but here are short descriptions of common sections to help you get the most out of the information provided. Chances are it will be a lot of information!

What is a consent form?
A consent form provides you details of your rights and information that you can use to decide whether or not to participate in a study. You will always get a consent form when participating in research, because researchers need to follow certain ethical rules in order to do research. A good rule of thumb is “if you don’t get a consent form, then don’t participate!”

What is the purpose of this study?
In this section you will learn about the study itself and why it’s being conducted and find information about the overall goal of the study.

What will I do if I choose to be in this study?
You will find out what you will be doing in the study, how much of your time are they asking you to commit, and what tasks can you expect to complete.

What are the possible risks or discomforts?
A section like this tells you about side effects or other things that might put you at risk! If it’s a survey or focus group to find out your opinion on something, chances are the risks are low.

What are the possible benefits for me or others?
This is where you can find out how you will benefit from being in the study and how your participation might help other people. This might be a great way to help develop a program for other young people like you!

Financial information:
This is probably the most interesting section, because here you will find out if you are getting paid to participate. This is the section that will give you a breakdown of what the researchers will pay you and when they will pay you.

What are my rights as a research participant?
You are volunteering to be in a study, so you have the right to drop out or not answer any questions that might make you uncomfortable! Dropping out never has a negative impact on your standing with the place that is doing the study. For example, if the study is being conducted at your local LGBTQ center, you can keep going back even if you drop out of the study.

Those were only the highlights of the consent form – remember to stay informed! Here are some other questions you can ask:
• What are you doing to protect my information and help keep it private?
• Will you use any of my personal information for anything other than this study?

These forms are usually packed with information, but the people conducting the research know this form inside and out. So if you don’t get it the first time, just ask them to explain it to you!

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