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What do subjects need to know in order to agree to participate in research? An informed consent document is assumed to communicate the essential information, but it is not clear how carefully research participants read these documents.
Imagine that you have received an email message inviting you to participate in a study being conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. Your participation in the study consists of completing an online survey and donating a small amount of blood; the study has been approved by the IRB and poses no more than minimal risk to you. You decide you would like to participate and click the link in the email message that will take you to the survey.
You answer a few questions and the study team emails you a username and password to securely enter the survey. When you enter the online survey, you are asked to read an informed consent document before you can begin answering questions. At this point, do you:
read the document carefully and click "I consent to participate" once you're sure you understand the study and its risks and benefits?
skim quickly through the document, reviewing highlighted or bold information, and then click "I consent to participate"?
scroll down to the end of the document without reading the material and click "I consent to participate"?
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