Active consent. Participants indicate their willingness to participate by agreeing to a specific statement, and then are included in the study. This is the most common, and recommended, form of consent for research.
Passive consent. Participants are informed of the study, and are considered to agree to participate unless they specifically decline to be included in the study. This procedure is often used in schools that send forms to parents asking them to allow their students to participate in various studies or activities. Although it yields high participation rates, it should be limited to completely innocuous research (typically not involving minors). It is acceptable for participant observation (ethnographic) projects.
The consent form template below will be suitable for many studies but may need alterations to be commensurate with your study and must be used in conjunction with the guidance given in Information Sheets & Consent Forms.
Written consent. Participants give their consent by filling out a consent form. Written consent guarantees active and explicit consent, thus offering the highest guarantees to the participant. It is most appropriate in studies that contain some level of risk, but also in many studies with no risk above those of daily life, when participants disclose personal or sensitive information, when they are exposed to deception, or any experimental treatment. Experiments and in-depth interviews in particular should consider written consent.