Information leaflets – when to use them, how and why
The principle benefit of an information leaflet is that it is a concise guide to the research – for a potential participant, or any other interested person. It summarises the key information a potential participant should have to enable them to decide whether or not to take part, and what else they might want to ask before they decide.
Its key advantage over other forms of information is that the potential participant can keep the leaflet, and refer to it later, or show to other people, after contact with the researcher has ended.
Providing an information leaflet is generally not enough to ensure that the participant has read it – it’s good practice for the researcher to talk though the information as well, to ensure that the participant has understood, and can ask questions.
Giving leaflets may obviously not be appropriate if people are not literate, so thought needs to be given to other means of informing people about the research and obtaining informed consent.
For very young children, leaflets can be addressed to parents/carers, who can then talk with their children about the research. But, if working with young children, it is good practice to design a leaflet that is accessible to young children, something that parents/carers can share with them.