IC FORMInterim Control of Unknown, Suspected Hazardous, Suspected Mixed, and Radioactive Waste
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In such contexts, a person's basic difficulties with English result in barriers to understanding the IC form.
Linguists, for example, may use Critical Discourse Analysis (Van Dijk, 2001; Fairclough, 1995; 2001; Wodak & Meyer, 2001) to analyse the IC form in terms of power imbalances such as between the researcher and the participant.
This interaction with regard to the IC form comprises three key elements which are: the provision of adequate information by the researcher so that participants will make an informed choice; the capacity of the individual participant to understand what they are told and to make a reasonable choice based on that information; and the voluntariness with which that choice is made (Macklin, 1999).
The study combined the use of editing, the cloze test, and the comprehension quiz so as to allow a cognitive assessment of the readers, their application of interactive text processing, and their knowledge of English sentence structure in order to read and understand an IC form they were encountering for the first time.
The IC form: The Research Unit of the Ministry of Health granted permission to us to use one old form, 19 pages long, submitted for review for a study conducted in 2009 where consent from people with HIV and tuberculosis was being obtained.
It can therefore be assumed that, for these would-be participants, an IC form written in English would not create a barrier to obtaining valid consent from them.
For example, in Botswana, of the HIV/AIDS patients which this IC form targeted, there are participants who are debilitated by age, such as under-age children and the elderly; by gender, where estimates for literacy show 47% male and 53% female; by unemployment, which was estimated at 19.3% in 2001; and poverty, with an estimated 37.4% of the population living below the national poverty line (Republic of Botswana, 2003).
A witness is not required when potential participants are literate, understand the language used in the original IC form (often English), and are legally competent adults.
Such a witness, essential to ethical research in such situations, objectively (1) observes the explanation of the IC form, (2) ensures that participants' questions have been addressed, and (3) looks "for any indication that the participant may not fully comprehend the information provided prior to signing the consent form." (34)
The IC form must specify the means by which potential participants indicate their willingness to volunteer for the study (i.e., the "Informed Consent Process").