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Ethics Behav. 2005;15(1):37-48.

How informed is online informed consent?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, P217 Biological Sciences Bldg., University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9.


We examined participants' reading and recall of informed consent documents presented via paper or computer. Within each presentation medium, we presented the document as a continuous or paginated document to simulate common computer and paper presentation formats. Participants took slightly longer to read paginated and computer informed consent documents and recalled slightly more information from the paginated documents. We concluded that obtaining informed consent online is not substantially different than obtaining it via paper presentation. We also provide suggestions for improving informed consent--in both face-to-face and online experiments.

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