Well-being of prospective participants
- Human participants should be clearly, fairly, and fully informed of the research objectives, procedures, foreseeable risks, and potential benefits. Their decision to participate should be fully voluntary.
- The risks (if any) should never be excessively harmful and the risk-to-benefit ratio should be taken into consideration when proposing the research.
- Participants’ anonymity and confidentiality shall be fully protected, unless this right is expressly waived (or unless disclosure is authorized or required by law).
Right to privacy
Is the right to privacy of the participants respected in the research design, in the use of the data collected, and in the proposed dissemination of the results of the research? (Article 3.2 of the Tri-Council policy statement). Researchers are required to take considerable care in the methods used to collect, store, analyze, disseminate, archive and/or destroy data. Of particular concern is data which contains personally identifiable information. Ethical concerns regarding privacy decrease as it becomes more difficult to associate information with a particular individual. Therefore, when collecting data, researchers shall assess the extent to which the data can be used to identify the participant(s):
- Anonymous information – data collected is anonymous; little or no risk of identification
- Anonymized information – data permanently stripped of all identifying information (no code; no potential for re-linkage); little or no risk of identification
- Coded information – data is stripped of identifying information and replaced with a code; risk of identification is low to moderate as there is a potential for researchers to re-identify participants
- Indirectly identifying information – information could reasonably identify an individual through a combination of indirect identifiers (demographic information; personal characteristics)
- Directly identifying information – personal identity directly revealed (name, health numbers, etc.)
Confidentiality of participant data
- Key student documents such as the consent form should remain confidential from the instructor/researcher until after the final grades have been posted
- When results are disseminated, results should be discussed in a way that protect student identity
- Identifiers should be removed,
- Data should be aggregated
Informed consent: nature of research, methodology, risks and/or benefits, right to participate / withdraw without prejudice, anonymity and confidentiality
See this link on data security guidelines.