Letter of information and consent
When you do research where you gather personal data, it is important to notify the informants
of your project. A good way to do this is to write a letter of information where you ask
whether your informant would like to participate, and inform him/her about your project.
Make sure to write such a letter in an informal, clear and non-scientific style so that anyone
would be capable of understanding what your project is about. The letter should be no longer
than about 1 page. Below you will find some indicators for what such an informational letter
You may discuss with your supervisor when it would be strategically to introduce such a
letter to your informants during your research project.
For Norwegian-speaking students, check out the web page:
1. Introduction where you request your informant to participate in your project.
The introduction should include:
- The title of your project.
- Short description of your project.
- The aim of your project.
Here you should make sure to mention that a master of Visual Cultural Studies
requires both writing a thesis and making an ethnographic film.
2. What kind of data that are required, and in what way they shall be gathered.
Here you should describe participant observation in a comprehensible way, i.e. I shall
participate in the everyday life and its activities in order to understand and learn
about…, I shall write notes and film.
3. Confidentiality, use of written and audiovisual material.
Here you should write that the material shall be used in the construction of a master
thesis and an exam film. Additionally, the films will be used within lectures, and may
be screened in documentary filmfestivals.
4. Underline that participation is voluntary and that the consent may be withdrawn
without stating any reason for doing so.
5. Name and address of student and supervisor.
6. Signature and consent.
One could formulate this: “I have received information about…(the research project)
and accept to participate” (date, place, signature).
Example of a letter of information and consent.
Request to participate in interview
I am a master student of Sociology at the University of Tromsø, and I am at the moment
working on the final master thesis. The topic for the thesis is youth culture, and I shall do
research on members of two youth milieus and their attitudes to culture. I am interested in
finding out whether there are similarities or differences between these two groups, and
also between youth and adults concerning their attitudes. To do research on this topic, I
wish to make interviews with 15-20 persons in the age group 18-20 years.
The questions will deal with opinions about different kinds of music, tv-programs,
dressing styles etc. As a part of the research I shall try to point out the causes of the
similarities and differences that will appear – for example whether specific attitudes may
be related to family background or the place they live.
I shall use a tape recorder and take notes while we talk. The interview will last
approximately one hour. We shall together find the appropriate time and place.
It is voluntary to participate in the research project, and you have the possibility to
withdraw from the project without having to state a reason for doing so. If you withdraw
all the data about you will be erased. The information shall be treated confidentially, and
no one will be able to recognize your sayings in the finished thesis. The information will
be made anonymous, and the recordings will be erased after the thesis has been finished at
the end of 2006.
If you would like to assign for the interview, please sign the attached letter of consent, and
send it to me.
If you have any questions, please call me on 00 00 00 00, or send me an e-mail :
firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact my supervisor N.N. at the Institute of
Sociology on 99 99 99 99.
Letter of consent:
I have received information about the study of youth culture and would like to participate.