Participant information sheets and consent forms

The participant information sheet is the document that explains the research project to potential participants and invites their participation. It is a key mechanism for ensuring that consent is active, informed and voluntary.

The consent form is the document on which participants give their written consent to take part in the research. Consent may also be provided verbally or implied, in which case a written consent form will not be needed, but a participant information sheet will be required.

Participants may be asked to give consent for their data to be used just for a specific project; for this project and for future projects of a similar type (extended consent); or for future, unspecified projects.

Under University policy, the data collected during a human research project must be stored for at least 5 years post publication (health data has longer storage requirements). However, there is a government-led initiative for research data to be made available for sharing and re-use whenever feasible. This means participants should be asked to provide either extended or unspecified consent and also means that the researcher has to plan for longer term storage and the need for agreements about access and re-use. The HREA requires details about these issues. See also Data Reuse and Sharing (opens in a new window)

The University provides a number of information sheet and consent form templates for various types of participants and the three types of consent. They are available at Research Forms (opens in a new window)

For more information on how to choose the correct participant information sheet and consent form, see Choosing the Most Appropriate Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form (PDF, 68.34 KB) (opens in a new window)

For tips on how to complete the forms see Guidance on Writing Participant Information Sheets and Consent Forms (PDF, 43.42 KB) (opens in a new window)