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The 1958 Birth Cohort - Reconsent to Research: Views of Participants

Graeme Laurie

Funding: Wellcome Trust

July 1 2012 – December 31 2013

This project undertook the first study on the legal status of research consent forms and examined the views of participants in long-term research that may be conducted over many decades. The project found that research participants now enjoy stronger rights than ever before when they take part in research; however, while consent forms for research have played a valuable role in this, on their own they cannot fully protect all of the rights of research participants. The project identified the key role of the consent process in securing rights, and pointed out the dangers of excessive focus on up-front, one-off signatures on consent forms. Additionally, the study recognised the importance of the law’s involvement in research, but it warned of the dangers of too legalistic an approach to the research relationship, instead of emphasising the need for mutual trust and respect through on-going engagement and communication between researchers and participants.