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Guidelines For Informed Consent Forms
Guidelines For Informed Consent Forms
The informed consent document or statement should be written in clear and plain language. It should be presented on institutional/departmental letterhead and include the following information:

Title of the Research Study

Researcher Identity
Provide the names and contact information of all researchers.
  • names (student, faculty)
  • student status (if applicable)
  • organization
  • email address(es)
  • contact phone number(s)
Purpose and Use of the Research
  • Indicate that the study has been approved by the York Region District School Board and the school’s principal, where applicable.
  • Indicate whether the research is for the purposes of completing a graduate degree, an institutionally funded project, etc.
  • State the purpose of the research or what the study is designed to assess or establish in language appropriate to the comprehension/reading level of the target population (e.g., improvement of program, more effective intervention strategies, creation of effective protocol).
  • Include a statement indicating the reason for selecting specific schools, departments, staff, parents, or students, if applicable.
  • Include a statement outlining potential publication or commercialization of the research findings (e.g., submission as a publication, thesis, report, videos, etc.)
  • Ensure the description of the purpose is consistent with the purpose described in the application.
Voluntary Participation
  • Clarify that although the research application has been reviewed and approved by the External Research Review Committee of the York Region District School Board and the schools’ principal, participation in the research is voluntary.
What You Will Be Asked to Do in the Research (Procedure)
Include a statement about the nature and duration of the participant's involvement:
  • Describe the research activities in which the participant will be involved.
  • State the amount of time that is expected of the participants.
  • Include topics and samples of questions similar to those to be used in the study in order to guarantee that consent is fully informed.
  • Where relevant, state whether audio or video recording will be used.
Withdrawal from the Study
Include a statement that participants do not have to answer questions that they do not want to answer, and may discontinue participation in the research at any time without penalty. State that, in the event that a participant withdraws from the study, all data associated with the participant will be excluded from the results and immediately destroyed.

Potential Risks and Discomforts
Include a clear statement of any risks, harm, or inconveniences to participants, however minimal, including:

  • The amount of instructional time that will be missed by students.
  • If applicable, a description of the type(s) of harm that might arise and a description of the methods that will be used to mitigate such harm.
  • A statement of any potential conflicts of interest the researchers might have.
Potential Benefits
Describe benefits to the participant and/or possible benefits to society, education or science as a result of the research, including:
  • A statement that the participant will not benefit from participation, if applicable. Monetary compensation is not a benefit and is not permitted.
Confidentiality and Anonymity
Describe procedures to ensure confidentiality of data and anonymity of participants.
  • Include information on the extent to which, and the manner in which, records identifying the participant will be kept confidential.
  • Provide information on the length of retention and security of data, including who will have access to the data.
  • If the information will be released to any other party for any reason, state the person/agency to whom the information will be given, the nature of the information, and the purpose of the disclosure.
  • Include a statement indicating that the researcher intends to publish the research (e.g., scholarly publications), or that the researchers intend to make public presentations based on the research. If the results of the study are published, indicate that the identity of participants, participating schools, and the Board will remain confidential.
  • In circumstances in which it is not possible to ensure confidentiality, the limits on this obligation should be carefully explained (e.g., participation in focus groups).
  • In consent forms for focus groups, the researcher should consider adding a statement about the potential harm that exists should confidentiality be violated by other participants.
  • If activities are to be audio or video recorded, describe the participant’s right to review/edit the tapes or transcripts, persons who will have access to the transcripts, whether they will be used for educational purposes, and when they will be erased.
Include a statement that indicates participants are fully informed and freely give their consent to participate in the research.
  • Include a statement that the participant has received a copy of the consent form for their records.
  • Include a statement informing the participant that the project has been approved by the Research Ethics Board.
Contact Information
Include researcher contact information for participants who have questions or concerns, including.
  • Name(s)
  • Organization
  • Phone number
  • Email address
Include a section for the participant’s signature.
  • State that the signature indicates authorization to participate in the study.
  • Include the name and signature of the parent/guardian for participants under the age of 18.
Extend Appreciation to Participants & Return of Consent Form:
  • Thank participants.
  • Include instructions for the return of the form.
  • Describe the ways in which participants will be informed of the results (if applicable).


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