Development of Plain Language Supplemental Materials for the Biobank Informed Consent Process

Bettina F. Drake, Katherine M. Brown, Sarah Gehlert, Leslie E. Wolf, Joann Seo, Hannah Perkins, Melody S. Goodman, Kimberly A. Kaphingst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The US Department of Health and Human Services addresses clear communication in the informed consent process as part of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for revisions to the Common Rule. However, prior research has shown that participants may not fully comprehend research studies despite completion of an informed consent process. Our main goal was to provide plain language information about donation processes to a cancer biobank to supplement an informed consent form. We developed and conducted cognitive testing with supplemental brochures that clearly communicated information about three different models for consent (notice, broad and study-specific) to future use of biospecimens. During the brochure development process, we conducted qualitative, semi-structured, individual, in-person cognitive interviews among 14 women to examine participants’ perceptions of the brochures. Each participant provided feedback regarding the understandability, graphics and layout, and cultural appropriateness of the brochures. Our findings demonstrate that these methods may be used to tailor consent form brochures, such as the ones developed here, to other populations. This study therefore adds to our understanding of how best to present content to help women from two different racial groups make informed decisions about participation in a cancer biobank.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-844
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Biorepository
  • Cancer
  • Consent models
  • Minority
  • Plain language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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