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Suggestions for Wording in Specific Situations

When participants are solicited from a classroom

“Your instructor will not know until after the grades have been submitted who has decided to participate and who has not, so that your decision to participate or withdraw cannot have any impact on your standing in the class or on your final grade.”

Confidentiality when data are aggregated

“Although the data from this research project will be published and presented at conferences, the data will be reported in aggregate form, so that it will not be possible to identify individuals. Moreover, the consent forms will be stored separately from the (materials used), so that it will not be possible to associate a name with any given set of responses. Please do not put your name or other identifying information on the (materials used).”

Confidentiality when quotations will be used

“The data from this research project will be published and presented at conferences; however, your identity will be kept confidential. Although we will report direct quotations from the interview, you will be given a pseudonym, and all identifying information (list relevant possibilities such as the name of the institution, the participant’s position, etc.) will be removed from our report.”

Limits to confidentiality in focus group research

“The researcher will undertake to safeguard the confidentiality of the discussion, but cannot guarantee that other members of the group will do so. Please respect the confidentiality of the other members of the group by not disclosing the contents of this discussion outside the group, and be aware that others may not respect your confidentiality.”

Confidentiality when there is a chance that a participant might be identified on the basis of what he or she has said

“Because the participants for this research project have been selected from a small group of people, all of whom are known to each other, it is possible that you may be identifiable to other people on the basis of what you have said.”

When participants can review a transcript of their interview

“After your interview, and before the data are included in the final report, you will be able to review the transcript of your interview, and to add, change, or delete information from the transcripts as you see fit.”

Oral consent

“I read and explained this consent form to the participant before receiving the participant’s consent, and the participant had knowledge of its contents and appeared to understand it.” (Include name of participant, date, and signature of researcher. If possible and practical, include signature of participant.)