Formal assessment of voluntariness with a three-part consent process.
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Informed consent that is voluntary and made by an individual who is knowledgeable and competent is a foundational requirement for protecting human subjects from harm and exploitation that could result from research participation. In 1974 Miller and Willner proposed a two-part consent process that involved disclosure of information and assessment of comprehension. The authors propose a brief third component to the consent process: assessment of voluntariness. Three steps are involved: generate a list of potential coercive influences on the basis of the research population and the study context, develop a set of questions to assess the presence and intensity of the impact of these influences, and identify alternative courses of action should coercion be identified.