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Resources :: Guide :: Research in an educational setting :: Informed consent :: Informed consent for adult students, teachers, and administrators

Informed Consent for Adult Students, Teachers, and Administrators

For most adult students participating in an education research study, assuming that the researcher has no position of authority over them, you can provide the basic consent process outlined in Basic Consent Scenario. If your study is exempt and/or you are not required to obtain consent, the Board will require you to provide basic information about the study to participants, such as what they will do, how long it will take, etc. You should also inform participants that participating in the study will not affect grades/employment status.

For situations where you do have a position of authority over the participants, you should devise a method for recruiting participants and obtaining consent so that the participant is able to give consent voluntarily. For example, if you are the instructor of a class and have grading authority over students, or if you are an administrator and supervise the teachers you will study, you have a position of authority over your participants. It may be advisable for a third party or another researcher to go through the consent process with the students and collect their consent forms.

Recruiting Students

For most confidential studies, it is usually acceptable for the researcher to recruit their own students as long as they will have no knowledge of who decided to participate.  In some cases, the Board may ask that you use a third party to announce the study to your class.  For example, if you have a research assistant or another researcher on the project who does not influence grades in the class, it may be more appropriate for that individual to invite the class to participate in the study.  If the board has concerns and using a third party is not an option, you may want to consider handing out a flyer in the classroom or sending out an email informing students about the study.  The purpose of these measures is to remove the teacher as much as possible from the participants without compromising the data collection.
If you are going to offer your students extra credit to participate in the confidential study, you should consider providing an alternative extra credit option that is comparable to study.  The students should submit their extra credit in a way that does not identify them to the researcher. If you have a third party who is grading the course but is not a part of the study (such as a teaching assistant) or if you are able to use another researcher who does not have the same influence over the students, these individuals could also collect information about the extra credit assignments.

Materials Release Consent Form

If you are collecting materials such as writing samples, drawings, exercises, etc, or if you are using video tape, audio tape, photography, or other recording devices, please describe this process in the consent form. Include in the consent form under “What you will do” a statement that the teacher/ student will be recorded and for what purpose. You may also need to explain what you will do if a student isn't participating in the study but may be part of the recording.

However, if you will publish a piece of a writing sample or a drawing, or if you will use a video tape in a presentation, in a class, etc, then you will need to use the Materials Release Consent Form to gain permission to use the materials in this way. The Materials Release Consent Form gives participants the opportunity to participate in the study but not allow their recordings for uses beyond the study.  If the materials you collect will only be used for research purposes and they will be reported in such a way that will not identify any individual, it is not necessary for you to use this form.

For more information on recording devices, please see Data Collection Tools.

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