Consent Writing Tips

The following tips are presented to assist investigators in effectively communicating with potential research subjects:

Write simply

  • Aim for 8th grade or lower reading level. Microsoft's Word readability tools can provide a general indication of the reading level. The HSC recognizes that 8th grade level may be difficult to achieve in biomedical research; however, the suggestions below will lower the language level and improve comprehension. 
  • Write short, simple, direct statements.
  • Use active verbs.
  • Keep paragraphs short and limited to one idea. Avoid large blocks of printed text. 
  • Use a conversational tone. Some research indicates that comprehension is improved with a question-and-answer consent format.
  • Use lay language for medical terms. For example, substitute "high blood pressure" for hypertension; substitute "adjust" for titrate; substitute "measure" for assess.

Review Resources / Lists

Refer to our consent form checklists

Use reader-friendly layout and visual aids

Last modified: May 16, 2014
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