Use this guidance when you are preparing to carry out user research.
We get consent and store research data with care for two reasons.
Consent forms contain quite a lot of information. It’s good practice to allow your research subjects plenty of time to read and sign it.
If you send the form to them via email and they reply, that implies consent. You’ll need to save and store the email in a way that makes it easy to track. Interviewees can request that you find and delete their records at any time.
Timescales may mean you don’t have enough time to send forms out in advance. Have printed copies on hand as the next best option. Allow at least five minutes for interviewees to read through and sign the form if you are with them. If you are reading online, encourage them to ask you questions and make sure they have time to think about what you're asking.
Records are easier to track if you scan printed forms and save them digitally.
Quick five minute interviews in a public space such as a café or waiting room are also known as guerilla testing. In these situations it can be difficult asking people to sign a form. There are three easy steps to secure verbal consent.
If you don’t keep any personal details or identifying facts on file there’s no need for a consent form. This approach can also work for online interviews if you don’t need any personal information as part of the research.
The general principle is to keep as little information as you possibly can. When specific personal or identifying information is relevant to your project you will need to keep a record of it.
Things to consider when taking notes during a research interview or session.
Consent forms help users to understand the purposes of your research and how you'll use the data collected during that research.
If you use google forms you can copy and adapt this template.
There’s an extra option to pre-fill the consent form using your interviewees’ data. Sending forms this way saves interviewees time and effort.
Get the Google Form template.
You can use this template to create your own form. Send it as a text document or hand it out as a printed page. You can also use the information to create your own version in your preferred survey tool.
Last reviewed: 02 March 2021Help us improve this content
A step-by-step digital safeguarding guide for charities designing new services or taking existing ones online
All organisations need to do safeguarding well and these resources will help you make plans and carry them out
How to apply for grant funding for digital and technology costs
Get the basics on data and insight and why they matter to charities, organisations and community groups
Get started with digital communications, campaigns and content in the charity sector and find out who can help
Find out if you're doing everything you should be to make sure your websites and digital services are accessible
How to better include the people you work with and for in your organisation's digital work
Get regular updates on NCVO's help, support and services