What is informed consent?

Children and young people must always give their permission to be part of research.

Consent is a big word; it can be hard to understand. The word consent is asking if you agree or disagree with doing or being a part of something, and if you give permission to the researchers to ask you questions and use your answers for their study.

An example of this; is; do you agree/consent to answering questions about your favourite TV shows, do you agree/consent to seeing a doctor to check on your health, or do you agree/consent to a research team keeping your drawings, words or pictured of you and by you?

If you agree to this, you are giving consent. If you disagree (do not agree), you are not giving consent.

  • How do researchers ask children and young people for their consent?
    1. The adult researchers must explain to you what their study is about and what you will do if you participate.
    2. The researchers will also explain what your rights are in the study (check out the next section for more information about your rights in research).
    3. Everything that the researchers explain must be simple, clear and child or youth-friendly. Usually, researchers use information sheets (on paper or digital).
    4. Once you feel that you understand this information, you are free to decide if you want to participate or not.
    5. The researchers may ask you to give your permission only with words or by signing a consent form.
    6. Depending on your age and circumstances, researchers may also need permission from your parents, caregivers, your school or other organisations that are related to you.

Next section: Children and young people’s rights in research

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