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In survey research, consent forms typically are used to gain the permission of a parent or guardian who has the legal authorization to give permission for someone in her or his charge to participate in a survey. However, in some studies an adult will be asked to sign a consent form about her or his own agreement to participate in a survey.

Consent forms are most commonly used in surveys of youth populations, regardless of survey mode. Federal regulations protecting human subjects (45 CFR 46), accompanying state or local regulations, and many institutional review boards (IRBs) hold that a youth cannot legally agree to complete a survey (provide consent for herself or himself) until he or she is 18 years of age. As a result, signed ...

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