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Guidance requires that consent processes for research be appropriately tailored to their cultural context. This paper discusses the use of rapid assessments to identify cultural and ethical issues arising when explaining research in studies in The Gambia and Ethiopia. The assessments provided insights into appropriate ways of providing information to minimize the risk of stigmatizing vulnerable research populations; research participants' views about the most important information to provide about research and their understandings of research; and perceived constraints upon reaching voluntary decisions about participation. These insights demonstrate that rapid assessments are a relatively quick and inexpensive intervention that can provide valuable information to assist in the tailoring of information provision and consent processes to research context while maintaining and enhancing participants' fundamental protections.

Original publication




Journal article


J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics

Publication Date





37 - 52


Biomedical Research, Comprehension, Culture, Data Collection, Ethiopia, Gambia, Humans, Informed Consent, Patient Education as Topic, Research Subjects