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Soc Sci Med. 2007 Dec;65(11):2260-71. Epub 2007 Sep 18.

Informed consent: interpretations and practice on social surveys.

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  • 1University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. jean@fjmartin.co.uk


This paper discusses interpretations and practical requirements for fulfilling informed consent on social surveys, particularly in the health field, in order to achieve a balance between two competing principles: the public good of carrying out high-quality survey research which requires unbiased representative participation; and respect for individuals' rights to refuse to participate. It examines the appropriateness of different practical procedures aimed at getting agreement to voluntary participation consistent with the requirements of informed consent. It seeks to raise awareness of the principles and practicalities of carrying out social surveys in the health field, which can inform judgements of what is appropriate ethical practice, which in turn can inform judgements of ethical review committees.

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