Are Patient Consent Forms for Research Protocols Easy to Read?
Priestly, Kim A.
Valentine, Christopher B.
Denison, David M.
Buller, Nigel P.
BMJ (British Medical Journal). 1992 Nov 21; 305(6864): 1263-1264.
Good clinical practice requires that a patient's informed consent is obtained before that person is entered into a clinical trial. This demands clear oral and written communication between the doctor and patient. Consent forms in this study were more difficult to read than newspaper editorials. Poor readability was caused by the use of long paragraphs and long sentences, not by the excessive use of long words. This study supports the first of Gunning's 10 principles of clear writing -- "Keep sentences short." If we are to fulfil our obligations the readability of consent forms must be improved. These data suggest that shorter sentences would help make consent forms easier to read.
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