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ePortfolio of Kirstie Shearman


I am a doctoral researcher in the Division of Health Sciences at Warwick Medical School.

Prior to joining Warwick, I gained an LLB in Law from the University of Southampton and an MA in Medical Law and Ethics from King’s College London.

Alongside studying for the MA at King’s, I spent a year managing NHS Research Ethics Committees at the Health Research Authority, followed by a year in R&D at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. I was also a member of an NHS REC for several years.


My research is a qualitative study aiming to improve information provided to potential research participants.

Written information sheets are commonly used to facilitate informed consent from potential participants in clinical research. Previous research looking at informed consent has found that participants often have limited knowledge about studies they are involved in, and are unable to identify study aims. Evidence suggests long information sheets result in poor retention, and that information provided is written in a way that is hard to understand. Despite this, information sheets remain complex and increasingly lengthy.

While it has been suggested that the increasing length and complexity of information sheets could be attributed to research ethics committees and principal investigators overemphasising legal details such as insurance and confidentiality policies rather than study details, it remains unclear how and why information sheets develop from a short explanation of the study into a long, technical document.

My research involved analysing information sheets designed for health research studies, and interviewing people involved in their design, such as researchers, PPI groups, REC members, and staff gaining consent from participants.


Professor Heather DraperLink opens in a new window

Dr Gregory MoorlockLink opens in a new window


My research is funded in full by a Warwick Medical School academic excellence scholarship.

Kirstie Shearman

K dot Shearman at warwick dot ac dot uk