Institutional Review Board: Informed Consent

Informed consent is an important step in ensuring that research participants are treated ethically.

Participants must have enough information to make an informed decision whether to participate in the research study. If participants cannot give informed consent, it must be obtained from their legal representatives. For example, when subjects are minors (under 18) or when they are mentally incapacitated, consent from a legal representative (such as a parent or legal guardian) is required. You should additionally provide a verbal explanation/description of the consent process, according to a script, when giving each participant the consent documents.

Consent documents and scripts must be clearly written in plain English so participants can fully understand the implications of participating. Scientific, medical, and technical terms should be avoided if possible or, if they must be included, clearly defined in simple language.

Informed Consent Checklist

Sample Consent Form

Components of Consent Forms

Verbal Description of Consent Forms

Exceptional Situations

Circumstances in Which a Written Consent Form May Not Be Required

If you will be photographing or videotaping your participants, the participants must, in addition, sign a photo release form or a video consent form.

For Additional Information on Informed Consent . . .

Contact the IRB

IRB Members
Here are the six representatives on Bard's Institutional Review board:
five faculty from the College plus one community representative.
Please feel free to contact any of us if you have any questions about the IRB process.
  • Sanjaya DeSilva (chair,
  • Brandt Burgess
  • Caroline Ramaley
  • Bruce Robertson
  • Shai Secunda
  • Peter Gadsby (administrative representative)
  • Mark Moreland (community representative)
If you have questions about your proposal, contact the IRB chair.