How to Put together an Oral History Consent Form

How to Put together an Oral History Consent Form

Before any oral history interview, an interviewer or in this case an oral historian has to get permission from the interviewee to recount their thoughts. This is because oral history operates within a context of informed consent which can be said to have been given if it is based upon a clear appreciation and understanding. This is done through a consent form. The consent form is drafted in such a way that it primarily avoids any future legal or ethical issues that may arise or misunderstandings with regards to sharing data or publishing the data collected. Some oral history interviews contain sensitive data that the interviewee has to give not only their verbal approval but as well as a signed approval for the interview to be conducted.

In addition to signing the forms, best practice states that the terms of both forms be recorded as they are read aloud and agreed to by the interviewer and narrator. In this blog we’re going to look at what a consent form basically contains.

A consent form contains:

A statement that the study involves research, an explanation of the purposes of the research, the expected duration of a subject’s participation, a description of the procedures to be followed, names of the interviewer and interviewee, place of interview, and if applicable, identification of any experimental procedures. If possible, you can tell the informant who is funding the project or who the project is receiving backing from. If it’s a university or a personally funded project.

A description of any foreseeable risks or discomforts to the subject so as to prepare the interviewee for any uncomfortable questions and to get their agreement to answer questions in this category.

A description of any benefits to the subject, or society, that may reasonably be expected from the research as a token of appreciation.

If appropriate, a disclosure of appropriate alternative procedures or treatments, if any, that might be advantageous to the subject.

A statement describing the extent to which confidentiality of records identifying the subject will be maintained.

For research involving more than minimal risk, an explanation of the compensation and medical treatments available if injury occurs, and where further information may be obtained.

Explanation of whom to contact for answers to pertinent questions about the research and subjects’ rights, and whom to contact in the event of a research-related injury.

A statement that taking part in the study is voluntary, refusal to participate will involve no penalty or loss of benefits the subject is otherwise entitled to and the subject may discontinue participation at any time with no penalty or loss of benefits

The above are just the basic areas that are covered in a consent form. There are a number of formats a consent form would take but I’ve taken the liberty and drafted one as shown below to show you how one with the above details would look like.

Oral History Consent Form

A copy of the consent form should also be given to the interviewee for their own keeping.

Again, the above format is not the only format that can be used. Every institution or research body have their own consent forms drafted out to suit their studies. The above consent form is just an example of what one would mainly contain.

That’s it for this blog, I do hope it was helpful to get you started in drafting your consent forms. Feel free to contact us for any questions or comments.

Kindly keep us in mind for all your oral history transcription needs and remember, always be kind, try to stay positive and learn to unwind.

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