Consent and Assent

Informed consent is fundamental to the conducting of ethical research.  

An informed participant understands the implications of taking part in the research and they agree to be a part of the research; participation voluntary and they can withdraw at anytime. Consenting is a process where the researchers clearly communicate with the participant ensuring that the individual understands expectations.  It is a conversation and the consent document is a record of this conversation.  

Is informed consent required even if the data will be collected from my family, friends or colleagues?  

Yes.  All research involving human subjects requires informed consent, regardless of your relationship with the subjects.

What is the difference between consent and assent? 

Consent may only be given by individuals who have reached the legal age of consent (in the U.S. this is typically 18 years old).  Assent is the agreement of someone not able to give legal consent to participate in the activity.  Work with children or adults not capable of giving consent requires the consent of the parent or legal guardian and the assent of the subject.

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