Things to Consider in order to Perform Ethical Research

Studies potentially exempt from ethics approval

  1. Studies that observe public behavior with no intervention and no identifying information collected.
  2. Analysis of publicly available documents (archival research).
  3. Surveys collected anonymously with no pressure to complete.

Studies requiring special care, and that may require an ethical review

  1. Studies involving questions about undesirable personal characteristics (prejudice, discrimination, aggression). These studies should have very carefully worded informed consent forms and thorough debriefings in which people are assured of the breadth of normal responses, and given resources to contact if they desire to speak to someone about the issues raised.
  2. Studies that involve participants from a population of concern (see below).
  3. Studies that involve deception.
  4. Studies that involve participants ingesting anything (food, medicine, etc.) other than water, even if they are only offered the item and not required to ingest it for the study.
  5. Studies involving invasive measures (e.g., blood collection).
  6. Studies in which personal identifying information about the participants is collected and kept associated with their data or with other information about the study.
  7. Studies which collect potentially endangering information (e.g., illegal behavior).


Populations of concern

  1. Children
  2. Patients/Ill people
  3. Prisoners
  4. Mentally disabled people


Personal identifying information includes

  1. Name
  2. Identifying numbers, such as fiscal number
  3. Physical or email address
  4. Images (photos, videos)

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