How to Write an Engaging, Informative eConsent Video Script  - Vibrent
Blog | September 07, 2023

How to Write an Engaging, Informative eConsent Video Script 

eConsent represents both an opportunity and yet a daunting challenge for many teams who have little to no experience navigating the latest and greatest digital methods for research. When it comes to electronic consent, one of the last things health research teams tend to consider is creating a consent video. And yet, it is easily the most helpful tool in a health researcher’s arsenal to efficiently inform and enroll patients in your study.  

So, how do you write a consent video script? Here in this blog, we explain some of the best practices you and your study team can utilize to write an effective video script for your digital consent that compels action from potential participants and fosters understanding. 

Use language to fit for your participant population 

In order to connect with as many potential participants as possible, it’s important to avoid overly clinical terms. This is because literacy in areas like health care or research is not universally high among populations. 

For instance, a 2003 survey from the National Center of Educational Statistics found that only 53% of the US population possess intermediate health literacy. A more recent study by the Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System has shown that while health literacy is increasing, it’s still not universal, with Kansas residents reporting ‘less than high’ literacy at 67 percent in 2012, and 51 percent in 2018.  

If you are looking to recruit specific populations, it’s important to understand their literacy needs. Several studies show that race, ethnicity, age, education level, economic status, health status, cognition, and non-English speaking populations are all factors that affect levels of health literacy. It’s also worth noting the commonly shared values that populations hold to connect with them through your consent video to build trust. 

Keep the tone of the video script conversational 

Maintaining a conversational tone in your eConsent video script may be challenging, but it’s essential for making it more engaging and accessible. Remember to balance some of the more clinical aspects of your video script with a friendly, approachable, and relatable tone. Conversational tone implies being able to use everyday language that your audience can understand. It also helps to simplify your script, which makes for an easier flow to the consent video. You can always rewrite the script and substitute more complex terms and words for shorter, simpler words that fulfill the same purpose. 

Be sure to address your consenting participants with language like “you” and “we” to make the tone more relatable and to help them easily understand how they will participate in the study. Real life examples are another way to help build understanding for specific concepts. If you are having trouble making complex concepts more relatable, try using metaphors or analogies. The more familiar the analogies/metaphors, the better. If concepts are too complex for your participant audience, be sure to break down complex concepts into smaller components. Or you may consider whether certain concepts are central to a participant’s required understanding to properly consent and omit them altogether.  

Need help producing an eConsent video or writing a script? 

Give prospects good reasons for participating 

Overall, you want to convince prospects that it’s worth their time participating. So it’s great to emphasize the benefits. Different benefits may be more important to different populations, so it’s important to understand how your population thinks. 

Some potential benefits include: 

  • Contributing to the health of future generations: this is especially relevant to elderly populations who want to ‘pay it forward’ and leave behind something of value while they had the time to do it. 
  • Contributing to the health of your racial or ethnic community: it’s important here to emphasize that people in underserved populations can contribute to insights and medical breakthroughs that are better tailored to the genetics of people from similar backgrounds. Since much research in the past has been comprised of majority white, male participants, it’s important to highlight the value of participation of diverse populations to these populations. 
  • Contributing to medical breakthroughs for a particular condition or set of conditions: this can be especially important for people living with the medical conditions that are being studied, people with family members with the condition, or those with a known genetic predisposition for a particular disease/set of diseases. 
  • Receiving standard-of-care or cutting-edge treatment: if your study gives participants access to treatments at little or no cost, it’s worth highlighting this incentive. 
  • Receiving genetic test results or other medically actionable insights: if your research program involves getting a free screening for certain medical conditions, or genetic testing that screens for predispositions or a more general idea of a person’s health, it’s worth highlighting the potential benefits that come with these insights. 
  • Access to insightful research findings: participants may have access to the results and findings of your research, which can provide insights into their health or condition. 

It’s important to highlight the benefits or participation towards the end of your video as people are closer to making an informed decision on whether to study or not. Alternatively, you can use it in the beginning of the script to gain their curiosity for learning more about the study. 

Keep the video short 

Avoid writing a long script. Participants will generally get distracted if your video is longer than three minutes. Based on our experience creating consent videos, we have found anywhere between a minute and a half to two minutes is an ideal length help maintain attention. 

In order to figure out the timing of your script, simply read it out and time yourself. Remember to leave space for natural pauses, which will allow for the video’s content to be more easily digestible to your consenting audience and help you gauge the video’s run length. Remember, consent videos don’t need to contain all the information necessary for consent, since they are often intended as supplementary aids to learning and comprehension. Also, animations in your video can help to add further context to help make your video more concise and effective in explaining your study in less time. 

Give an overview of your study and what it aims to accomplish 

This one is pretty self-evident. It’s important to state the main goal of your study. While in many cases you will want to avoid some of the less significant questions you aim to address. State the questions you want to answer in simple terms. Be sure to explain the types of people you are aiming to recruit. Or you could explain why the participants themselves are being selected to participate. This part of your script might also be a good opportunity to introduce your study team to briefly explain how each of them will be involved. 

Provide information regarding study activities  

How will your participants be involved, and what is your study team doing over the course of the research? It’s important to explain how long the study will take, what sort of procedures may be involved, as well as some of the risks and potential benefits. As always, make sure participants are well aware of their rights, specifically as it relates to their right to stop participating at any time they choose for any reason. This is a great area to consult with your IRB when you are submitting various materials for your informed consent process, as it relates to eConsent or otherwise.   

Explain how their data will be used, accessed, and kept secure 

Give a high-level description of what the data they provide will be used for, who will have access to it, and how the data will be kept secure. More specifically, how will their personal health information (PHI) and personally identified information (PII) be used/stored? What rights do they have per these data? As previously explained, data privacy and confidentiality are valued among many populations, so it’s important you address this in an easily graspable way. 

End the video with a compelling call to action 

A call to action is a marketing term defined as a short phrase using a verb to compel a specific action from your audience. In this case, a call to action can be used to compel potential participants to: 

  • Continue enrollment 
  • Contact study staff (if they have specific questions) 
  • Agree to participate 
  • …and so on. 

Summary of how to write an informed consent video script 

To write a clear, concise, compelling consent video script for your research study, consider the following: 

  • Do not use overly clinical language 
  • Keep the tone of the video script conversational 
  • Give prospects good reasons for participating 
  • Keep the video short; 1:30-2:00 is ideal to maintain attention 
  • Give an overview of your study and what it aims to accomplish 
  • Provide information regarding what activities a participant is agreeing to when they join 
  • Explain how their data will be used, accessed, and kept secure 
  • End the video with a compelling call to action 

To learn more about eConsent video best practices, read our blog:  

How to Create an eConsent Video that Builds Participant Trust: An Interview with a Health Research Project Manager 

To learn more general eConsent best practices, read our blog: eConsent Best Practices 

Need access to a team of eConsent experts and technology for eConsent? 

More to read

Technology considerations to promote inclusion, equity and diversity in clinical research
Content by Vibrent’s CEO

Technology considerations to promote inclusion, equity and diversity in clinical research

Underrepresented groups traditionally were thought to have limited access to technology. But internet access is on the rise and researchers…


What Researchers Need to Know for the Week of April 25, 2022

The need for diversity in research participant populations was a key theme in health research news last week, as well…

In the News

How Small Businesses Are Implementing Corporate Social Responsibility Missions

Small businesses have especially put emphasis on CSR-related challenges, issues and topics recently. Companies and organizations will often align their…

In the News

The Great Resignation & The Future Of Work: Matthew Mitchell Of Vibrent Health On How Employers and Employees Are Reworking Work Together

When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model…


eConsent Done Right: A Powerful Tool to Build Trust and Diversity in Research 

Researchers use a variety of tools and techniques to reach out and recruit diverse participants to their studies. But the…


What Researchers Need to Know for the Week of April 4, 2022

The news cycle last week was full of government updates, but the area of genomics was particularly active.   The…


Are Your Digital Tools an Unintended Barrier to Diversity in Research? How to Bridge the Technology Gap for Research Participants

Since the start of the pandemic, researchers have faced additional challenges in participant recruitment and engagement. Safety and exposure concerns…


To Create a Diverse Research Participant Population, Start with These Strategies

The past two years have revealed the ugly truth about diversity in research: it’s not been a priority. But with…


To Recruit Diverse Research Participants, Get Out of the Clinic and into Your Community

Most research studies are performed in clinic-based academic medical center facilities. Centralizing resources – technology, laboratory facilities, and skilled clinical…


What Researchers Need to Know for the Week of March 28, 2022

In health research, it’s hard to keep up. There are new discoveries made, new projects begun, and new innovations announced…