Independent Minds, Working Together

Sample Consent Form

Research projects involving human subjects require obtaining consent of the participants, and in the case of subjects younger than age 17 or subjects who cannot give their consent, parents or guardians. Consent forms detail the rights of the participating human subject. The participant must be given a copy of this form, and sign his or her signature at the bottom of the form to indicate that he or she understands his or her rights. The human subject cannot participate in the research until this form has his or her signature.

Consent documents must be included with an application to the HSRC. They should be simply written so that they can be easily understood by the average person. Do not use technical jargon or abbreviations. The following basic elements must be included in a consent document:

  • A statement that the study involves research, and explanation of the purposes of the research, the expected duration of the subject’s involvement in the research, a description of the procedures to be followed, and identification of any procedures that are experimental. 
  • A description of any reasonably foreseeable risks or discomforts to the subject. 
  • A description of any benefits that may reasonably be expected from the research. 
  • A statement describing the extent to which confidentiality of records identifying the subject will be maintained. 
  • A statement that participation is voluntary, that the subject may refuse to participate, and that either the subject or the researchers may discontinue the study at any time with no adverse consequences. 
  • A statement advising subjects that if they have any questions about the research, or their rights, they may contact you. Your name and telephone number must be included. 
  • Signature lines should be included for the subject, the subject’s parent or guardian if the subject is under 18 years of age or otherwise incompetent, and a line for the date.

For guidance, the HSRC has provided a sample consent document (for adults (.pdf)), and a sample consent/assent document (for minors (.pdf)).