Comic strips help children understand medical research: targeting the informed consent procedure to children's needs

Petronella Grootens-Wiegers, Martine C de Vries, Mara M van Beusekom, Laura van Dijck, Jos M van den Broek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Children involved in medical research often fail to comprehend essential research aspects. In order to improve information provision, a participatory approach was used to develop new information material explaining essential concepts of medical research.

METHODS: A draft of a comic strip was developed by a science communicator in collaboration with pediatricians. The draft was presented to children participating in a clinical trial and to two school classes. Children were consulted for further development in surveys and interviews. Subsequently, the material was revised and re-evaluated in four school classes with children of varying ages and educational levels.

RESULTS: In the first evaluation, children provided feedback on the storyline, wording and layout. Children thought the comic strip was 'fun' and 'informative'. Understanding of 8 basic research aspects was on average 83% and all above 65%, illustrating that children understood and remembered key messages.

CONCLUSION: A comic strip was developed to support the informed consent process. Children were consulted and provided feedback. The resulting material was well understood and accepted.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Involving children in the development of information material can substantially contribute to the quality of the material. Children were excited to participate and to 'be a part of science'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-24
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Audiovisual Aids
  • Cartoons as Topic
  • Child
  • Comprehension
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Pediatrics


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