Some participants, although not legally competent, are able to make judgment about their participation themselves. This is the case for teenagers and some mentally impaired individuals, for instance. The assent formgives them an opportunity to express their agreement to participate in research in writing, beyond the consent given by a legal guardian or parent. Although the assent is not legally binding, and does not dispense a researcher from obtaining consent from a parent or legal guardian, it is advisable as sound ethical practice. It reinforces the voluntary nature of participation.
To guarantee that participants understand what they are consenting to, researchers should pay attention to the language they use. They should use the language that their target population will be most comfortable with. As a rule, they should refrain from using technical language and use an 8thgrade level of English. Depending on the methodology you are using, the population and topic you are studying, and the level of risk, informed consent may be implied or explicit, active or passive, and written or oral.
Please use the template informed consent formprovided in this site to obtain explicit, active written consent. If the participants are not considered legally competent, a parent or legal guardian has to give consent on their behalf. The form for parental or legal guardian consentgives explicit, active written consent for their charge to participate in research. Please be aware that once they become legal adults, children may revoke the consent given by a parent or legal guardian.
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.