Key Difference – Consent vs Assent
Consent and assent are two terms that refer to agreement or approval. They are two terms you often encounter in the field of research. You need the assent or consent of participants in your research in order to proceed with the research. The key difference between consent and assent is their legal status; assent refers to a simple agreement whereas consent refers to a legally accepting or binding agreement. Therefore, assent has no legal validity whereas consent does.
What Does Consent Mean?
Consent refers to permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. For example, when you are working with someone else’s work, you will need his or her consent make any changes. Similarly, if you are doing a study about a person, you need his consent to collect information about him.
This word is mainly used in the field of research. When you are conducting a research study using a human population or sample, you’ll have to obtain the consent of each and every participant. In the field of research, this is more correctly known as ‘informed research’. The participants must have knowledge and understanding about the nature of the research study, risks and benefits, objectives, etc. It is the responsibility of the researcher to inform the participants of these details.
Consent is legally binding agreement. However, consent can only be given by participants who are above the legal age of consent. If you are conducting a research study involving legal minors (children), you’ll have to obtain the legal consent of their parents or guardians. A research study involving human subjects cannot be completed without obtaining the informed consent of the participants.
What Does Assent Mean?
Assent also refers to an expression of agreement or approval. In some contexts, it refers to an official agreement or sanction. For example, if you are making a documentary about a government office, you’ll need the assent of the higher authorities. The difference between consent and assent mainly exists in the field of research.
In the context of research, it refers to the willingness of the participants to participate in the research. Assent also refers to the agreement of those who cannot give their consent to participate in the study.
As mentioned above, consent is a compulsory element in a research study. When the participants are unable to give legal consent due to their age limit, you have to approach their parents or guardians. However, you also have to obtain the assent of the minor subjects, in addition to the consent of their guardians in order to proceed with your research.
What is the difference between Consent and Assent?
In a Research Study:
Consent refers to the legally accepting agreement between the participant and the researcher.
Assent refers to the willingness to participate in a research study.
Consent is a legally binding agreement.
Assent is not a legally binding agreement.
Consent can be obtained from those who are over the legal age of consent.
Assent can be obtained from those who are under the legal age of consent.
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