(Un)Informed Consent in Exercise and Sport Science Research? A Comparison of Forms Written for Two Reading Levels

By Cardinal, Bradley J. | Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, September 2000 | Go to article overview

(Un)Informed Consent in Exercise and Sport Science Research? A Comparison of Forms Written for Two Reading Levels


Cardinal, Bradley J., Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport


Key words: ethics, human subjects, Institutional Review Board, readability

The Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 1999) "Guide-lines for Contributors" state, "The RQES editorial board requires all authors submitting manuscripts for review and possible publication to take all appropriate steps to obtain the informed consent of all humans participating in the research...." (inside back cover). Informed consent generally refers to the researcher's responsibility to share information with potential research participants about her or his study, and, once this information is shared, the potential research participant's permission is sought with regard to either becoming involved with or declining to become involved with the researcher's study (Kroll, 1993). In obtaining informed consent, the rights of all parties involved in the research project (i.e., researcher, research participant, institution where research occurs), as well as the research enterprise in general, are being protected (Drowatzky, 1995). In t he United States, the Office for Protection from Research Risks, National Institutes of Health (1991) regulates informed consent policies. Several professional societies also have established guidelines in the area of informed consent (American College of Sports Medicine, 1999; American Educational Research Association, 1992; American Psychological Association, 1992; Henschen, Ripoll, Hackfort, & Mohan, 1995; Last, 1991; Reid, Dunn, & McClements, 1993; Whelan, 1996).

While all researchers should be familiar with the basic idea of informed consent, both anecdotal and descriptive evidence suggests researchers in exercise and sport science may be performing suboptimally in this important area of ethical and professional responsibility. For example, Albrecht, Anderson, McCrew, McKeag, and Hough (1992) commented, "...the consent forms used by institutions may be written at a much higher grade level than the typical undergraduate student-athlete is capable of understanding or reading" (p. 246). In a descriptive study, Cardinal, Martin, and Sachs (1996) examined the informed consent forms used by researchers in sport and exercise psychology and found the forms were too difficult for the "average adult" to read and comprehend. [1] In their study, the average informed consent form was written at the 13th-grade reading level, whereas the most liberal recommendation for constructing these forms suggests they be written at or below the 8th-grade reading level (Young, Hooker, & Freeb erg, 1990). If a potential research participant cannot read an informed consent form, the validity of the document, as well as the entire informed consent process, can be questioned (LoVerde, Prochazka, & Byyny, 1989; Ogloff & Otto, 1991; Olivier, 1995). [2] The main message of Cardinal and colleagues' study was that researchers should strive to write research informed consent forms that are matched to the reading level of the target audience, or, if the researcher is uncertain about the reading level of the target audience, the forms should be written at or below the eighth-grade reading level.

But does writing a research informed consent form at a lower reading level result in better understanding by potential research participants? There is no empirical evidence within exercise or sport to suggest this is true, and results from other content domains have yielded mixed results on this issue. For example, after making an informed consent form more readable, Taub, Baker, and Sturr (1986) reported no significant improvements in comprehension scores, whereas Handelsman and Martin (1992) reported significant improvements but in only one of three comparisons. On the other hand, Young et al. (1990) found writing an informed consent form at a lower reading grade level resulted in improved comprehension by research participants. Interestingly, Davis, Holcombe, Berkel, Pramanik, and Divers (1998) found research participants preferred an "easy" to read informed consent form over a "difficult" to read informed consent form; however, the easy to read form did not significantly improve research participants' understanding of the form's content in comparison to the difficult to read form. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

(Un)Informed Consent in Exercise and Sport Science Research? A Comparison of Forms Written for Two Reading Levels
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.