Before young participants join a design research session, they need to know what we’re doing and why. Crucially, they need to feel totally empowered to opt in or out.
Consent forms are often too long, filled with jargon, and feel formal and ‘legal’, which can make young people feel pressurised.
Young people have also told us that some of the things that matter most when deciding to participate aren’t usually in
consent forms. For example, information about who they are going to be speaking to.
We’ve rewritten our consent material in child- and young-person friendly tone, language and format. We’ve used simple visuals to help communicate important information, and included pictures of our project team.
We’ve developed three templates to encourage young people to take part. They are now our starting point in getting consent:
two information sheet templates – (one for older and one for younger learning ages) with the project details and main principles of consent
one consent form template – the actual ‘sign here’ written documentation of consent
one event announcement example – with enough information for a young person to make a decision, without being overwhelming
Using the consent templates
Researchers can adapt the templates to fit their project.
At Barnardo’s we work through these materials in conversation with a young person, so we can answer questions, check their understanding and assent, and emphasise the voluntary nature of getting involved.
We’ll continue to develop and improve the templates as we test them with research participants.
We’re also making a short animated video to explain and demonstrate what our young participants can expect from taking part in a research session.