Advances in Informed Consent Research

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Ethics of Consent : Theory and Practice




Informed consent doctrine; Medical care; Medical ethics


© 2010 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights reserved. Almost since the origins of the informed consent doctrine, physicians and researchers have been frustrated by the difficulty of attaining meaningful consents-consents that truly fulfilled the high ideals of the doctrine. This difficulty quickly led to a series of empirical studies showing that patients did not understand informed consent disclosures. Almost as quickly, critics pointed to methodological flaws in those studies. Recent years have seen empirical ethicists explore new directions in informed consent, both in the methods used to study consent and in innovative approaches for improving the consent process. This chapter begins with an overview of the expanding research methodologies and considers some recent research findings. It then explores some of the theoretical innovations that have resulted, describing certain problems that remain in consent, and considering the efforts being made to overcome them.

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