Practical approaches to seeking assent from children
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Practical approaches to seeking assent from children

Stephanie Kumpunen Research assistant, Department of children’s nursing, London South Bank University
Lisa Shipway Senior staff nurse, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London
Rachel M Taylor Research associate, Department of children’s nursing, London South Bank University and at the Cancer Institute, University College London
Susie Aldiss Researcher, Child health at the department of children’s nursing, London South Bank University
Faith Gibson Clinical professor, Department of children’s nursing, London South Bank University and at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London

Aim To describe and evaluate two approaches – a storyboard and a wordsearch – that the authors used with children aged four to 12 years to obtain assent.

Background The assent process is vital in helping children to understand the elements of a research project and to make a choice of whether or not to participate. However, the methods for obtaining assent are not well documented.

Data sources Two researchers’ thematic reviews of the primary researcher’s field notes, taken during a study of eating problems during chemotherapy.

Discussion The assent process appeared to be an enjoyable, positive experience for many children. They appeared to understand what participation entailed – that it was voluntary and that they had a choice.

Conclusion When using child-centred techniques, children are aware of what being in a research study will mean to them.

Implications for practice Researchers can be confident in gaining assent from children as young as five years.

Nurse Researcher. 19, 2, 23-27. doi: 10.7748/nr2012.01.19.2.23.c8905

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

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