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Managing ethics considerations and protocols

It is advisable for researchers, evaluators and other related practitioners to routinely check their projects to ensure they are meeting ethical requirements - especially for the social and human dimensions elements of projects. Checklists act as a memory aid to good research practice, and are also a frequently required procedure for those seeking research approval from ethics committees. Such protocols are likely to be increasingly employed to ensure compliance with research governance requirements.

In essence, an ethics form is a statement which sets out how researchers and practitioners intend to ensure compliance with each of the key principles (such as: 'informed consent', 'openness and honesty', 'right to withdraw', 'protection from harm', 'debriefing' and 'confidentiality'). Your 'ethics protocol' should set out how your study will meet these requirements where relevant. Some of these principles will be of greater importance than others for you and this should be reflected in your statement. This ethics statement should cover all the things that you talk about to potential participants in order to obtain informed consent, which would cover issues such as confidentiality, right to withdraw, feedback, etc as appropriate.

Ethics protocol and sample information and consent forms

Other selected ethics links