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

        • When applicable, investigators are encouraged to use the consent templates posted on the HSC website.
        • If none of the templates seem appropriate for your study, please contact the HSC office.  Office staff can help in developing your consent document.  

        Use reader-friendly layout and visual aids

        Last modified: Feb 21, 2014
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