Sept. 11, 2013
Understand the ethical considerations for social science research
Three Ethical Pillars to protect participants (Confidentiality, Informed Consent,
Right to Withdraw)
Confidentiality & Anonymity
o Confidentiality: information may have names attached to it, but the
researcher holds it in confidence or keeps it secret.
o Anonymity: subjects remain anonymous or nameless (secondary datasets)
o Elite interviews – to name or not to name?
-term used when dealing with a sample of your population who hold very
detailed knowledge about your research topic (ex: people experiencing
-if you decide to use names, include it in the consent form
o Name/position they hold gives weight to findings (ex: Minister). Consent
must be given to use their name.
o Legal action
-evidence of what was said (tape recorder)
o Stigma associated with unpopular topics
-any negative remarks made about your research topic
Understand the elements that must be included in an informed consent form
o Elements that must be in an Informed Consent Form (*written or verbal*)
1) Details the nature of the research
2) Activities the participants would be involved in
3) Time duration
4) Identity of the researchers and email
5) Risks to participants
6) Participation is voluntary
7) Participants can withdraw
8) Guarantee confidentiality and anonymity
9) Contact information
10)Offer to provide detailed information about the study 11)Sign and date
o Informed Consent – Verbal
Everything that needs to be provided to participants in order to obtain their
written informed consent should be available to those participants
participating in a verbal/phone survey.
Most polling companies identify themselves, the research topic, the
company/organization that hired them, the time frame of the survey, etc.
Instead of a signature, participants give verbal consent. They will be asked
“Would you like to complete this survey?” to which participants will say
“Yes” to give consent.
If participants are interested in findings, t