How to Create Consent Forms in Google Forms

March 18, 2024
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Consent forms must be extra clear when gathering permissions, and that means making them as simple as possible. It can be challenging balancing this with all the legal prerequisites, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. By default, Google Forms aren’t legally binding, but there is a way to make them so!

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create consent forms in Google Forms that are actually binding. We'll give you step-by-step instructions, allowing even those unfamiliar with the platform to easily navigate it. Then, we’ll discuss the different types of consent forms and the considerations for each. Let's get started.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that consent forms come with a variety of legal considerations. We will be covering the necessary components of these forms, but it’s recommended that you consult a legal professional when making consent forms on your own, especially if you don’t have experience with consent form writing. 

Google Forms is an essential tool for creating forms, but to create legally compliant forms complete with e-signatures, you’ll want to download Form Publisher

Step 1: Create and title a new Google Form

Navigate to your Google Forms.

Click the “Start a new form” button. 

Give your form an appropriate title depending on what type of consent form you’re creating. We’ll talk more about the different kinds of consent forms later on. 

A consent statement is an explicit, concise, and written declaration communicating a person’s agreement, approval, or permission for a specific action, process, or engagement. A well-crafted consent statement usually includes the following elements:

  1. Description of purpose
  2. Details of actions
  3. Voluntary participation
  4. Duration and scope
  5. Confidentiality and privacy
  6. Signed approval

Insert your consent statement in the “Description” of the form. 

Step 3: Add questions for personal information

Now, start adding questions in the order that you’ve mentioned the elements in your consent statement. A Google Form begins with a default multiple-choice question. Let’s start by adding a field for the participant’s name.

Enter the question in the question field. Now, click the drop-down button next to it to select the most appropriate question format. 

For the name, we’ll select the “Short answer” format. 

Click the “Add question” button in the floating menu next to the form to add your next question. You can also add more questions for personal information like the address, phone number, other contact details, or relationship to the minor (in case of consent form for minors).

Step 4: Include all questions that require agreement

The next element on our example consent statement is the activity or the purpose.

Let’s add a question about the details of the actions, procedures, or activities for which consent is being sought, leaving no room for ambiguity. Consent form questions are usually binary (Yes/No) in nature. 

Similarly, move on to the next element in the consent statement and add all your questions.

Step 5: Split up questions into sections appropriately

For clarity, you can split your form into sections. For example, you can arrange the form's personal information fields and permissions into different sections. 

To do this, go to the question after which you want to introduce the new section and click the “Add section” button in the floating menu.

A new section (Section 2) has been created after the personal information question. You can give this section a separate title and description if you wish. 

To duplicate, merge, move, or delete the section, click the three dots in the upper right corner of the section. 

This will open up a new menu that contains all these functions. Deleting the section deletes the section and the question(s) contained in it. If you want to revert to the previous structure, simply choose “Merge with above.”

Again, make sure you have everything necessary in th

Step 6: Establish an approval workflow or e-signature request

Once you’ve added all your questions and sections, all that’s left to do is turn it into an approval workflow by which the respondents automatically receive the consent form for approval. To do this, however, you’ll need a simple and handy add-on called Form Publisher. Download Form Publisher to Google Forms before going further. 

Once you’ve got Form Publisher configured on your form, find the “Sharing options and notifications” setting. Here, select the “Approval Workflow.” Now, you need to route the form through the respondents for their approval. To do this, add respondents as approvers for your form. 

You can add an e-signature request to your consent form if you like. Google Forms doesn’t inherently have a feature for doing this, but it is possible through Form Publisher. Learn how to add a signature to Google Forms. 

That was a generic consent form for demonstration, but consent forms usually have to be quite precise and detailed with regard to the purpose. Let’s look at a few types of consent forms and what you might need to consider for each. 

Informed consent forms are documents that aim to provide individuals with detailed and transparent information about a particular activity or procedure. These types of consent forms or documents allow them to make voluntary, well-informed decisions regarding their participation.

These forms are a fundamental aspect of ethical practices in various fields, such as healthcare, research, and legal processes. The most important consideration for these forms is that the activity or purpose is detailed with as much clarity as possible, with no room for ambiguity in the participants’ minds.

A medical release consent form or health information release form is a legal document that allows the disclosure of an individual's medical information to specific individuals or entities. These entities could be other healthcare practitioners, insurance agencies, or other third parties or guardians. 

These consent forms guard patient’s privacy while allowing health-related information to be shared for medical treatment or other legitimate purposes. The primary consideration for these forms is explicitly mentioning the authorized recipients and guidelines for releasing medical information.

Research study consent forms are designed to inform individuals about the details of a research study and to obtain their voluntary agreement to participate. These forms are an essential part of the ethical conduct of research.

It’s important for such forms to clearly define the purpose, procedures, potential risks, and benefits for which the consent is being granted. It should also include a detailed explanation of the research study's purpose, objectives, and methodology.

These forms are often used to address situations where a child is traveling internationally or domestically without one or both parents. They provide evidence that the parents or guardians have consented to the child traveling with another adult, a group, or alone.

Travel consent forms are essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of the child during their travels. They’re often required by immigration authorities, airlines, or border control agencies. The most important aspect of these is the child’s and parent’s information and travel details. 

A consent form for minors is a legal form or document required to allow a minor child to participate in specific activities or receive specific services. These could be medical treatments, extracurricular activities, excursions from school, participation in photography or videos, or even research studies. 

Consent forms for minors ensure that legal and ethical standards are met. They also serve to protect the rights and well-being of the minors involved. The critical consideration for these is complete disclosure of any risks involved and clear, explicitly stated permission from the parents or guardians. 

Ensuring compliance and transparency becomes easy when you create your consent forms with Google Forms. Form Publisher allows you to build on the capabilities of Google Forms and create approval workflows with consent forms. 

Also, no matter where you use it, storing compliance-related information is essential for easy retrieval. With Form Publisher, you can turn a form submission into a document automatically and store it in a designated folder in your Google Drive for later. 

Try Form Publisher to simplify how you obtain permissions. Never lose a compliance-related document again!

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