A consent form is an important element in research because it protects the ethical rights of people who are involved in studies. Without a consent form, a person could be entering into a study in which they are not prepared to participate. One of the tenets of this kind of research is that the researcher never truly knows who he or she is working with. The researcher does not know what kinds of issues the person has, or what things might be difficult for the subject to discuss. The consent form is an excellent lead-in to the study that will allow the researcher to get better answers to those questions while forming a more sensible understanding of the people the research is working with.
In addition, there are always going to be some benefits and risks associated with being involved in a study. If a person makes the decision to be involved in the study without first knowing these things, then that person has not really agreed to be a part of the study. Any researcher doing things the right way is going to want to ensure that he has participants who are in every way willing to be a part of the study as it is intended. The only way those people can do this is if they have a solid understanding of the process.
In addition, consent forms are critical because they help to explain the process and procedure to the people taking part in the study. If these people know the process, they will be better participants. They will fulfill the requirements of the research more fully and they may take it more seriously. In this way, an informed consent form is about more than just getting consent. It is also about giving out information in order to have a more successful research project.
- Kass, N. E., Taylor, H. A., Ali, J., Hallez, K., & Chaisson, L. (2015). A pilot study of simple interventions to improve informed consent in clinical research: Feasibility, approach, and results. Clinical Trials, 12(1), 54-66.
- Nelson, H. L. (Ed.). (2014). Stories and their limits: Narrative approaches to bioethics. Routledge.
- Shrivastava, S. R., Shrivastava, P., & Ramasamy, J. (2015). Informed consent in clinical research. CHRISMED Journal of Health and Research, 2(2), 183.