An oral consent process is where researcher and participant have a conversation to give information and obtain consent. There is no paper form to sign. It is normally used:
- where literacy is a problem,
- where there are cultural or political concerns with signing contract-like documents,
- where either the researcher and/or the participant could be put at risk by existence of a paper record,
- where time for consent is limited, eg a chance interaction between researcher and participant (although you should not use an oral process merely to correct poor planning of research).
It may also be more appropriate when interviewing elite participants as part of the research.
It is highly unlikely that oral consent processes will be permissible when applying to the Medical Sciences IDREC. If in doubt, please contact the Medical Sciences IDREC for advice.
For all other research, how you arrange your oral process depends on how you will encounter your participants (eg email, phone, an on-the-street-meeting by chance). Between information and consent stage the participant should be given a reasonable amount of time to consider whether to consent, though this depends on the project design, the type of participants and the context of the research.
When obtaining oral consent, please ensure you are recording the consent process either using a recording device (eg audio recorder if you are conducting an interview) or, if participants do not agree to audio recording or if using/keeping audio records is unsafe, by using a researcher record of oral consent template.
The oral consent templates below can be adapted to suit your study, but careful consideration is required to ensure that these are appropriate for the research and the participants.