Writing a participant information sheet
Guidelines for writing a participant information sheet are detailed on this page.
The template for producing a participant information sheet has some standard text which you cannot change but also some text which you can amend and this text is in italics. This guidance helps you complete the sheet by offering further explanation of parts of the information sheet and things to ensure you have included.
The participant information sheet should be designed so that potential participants of your research project can give informed consent to participate in the project.
A participant information sheet should:
- provide sufficient and appropriate information on which they can base an informed decision, including the risks and benefits
- be written in language that potential participants could reasonably be expected to understand
- be free from coercive language and promises that cannot be kept or unjustified claims of benefits
- be provided for each data collection tool separately so if the research involves both interviews and focus groups, there must be a PIS for each activity
- be provided for each group of participants so for example students one information sheet and staff a different one
The advantage of a written Information Sheet is that you and your participants have a record of all the relevant information about the study. In most cases this is supplementary to, rather than replacing, a discussion between the researcher and the potential participant.
For some participants such as very young children, a written information sheet is not appropriate (although for children, their guardian should receive written information about the study). For other participants the information may be presented in a letter or email rather than as an 'Information Sheet'.