Guidelines for Ethical Research in College Courses

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When information is collected for a class project that does not meet the definition of "research" (as defined by the federal regulations), it is still important to inform the people students talk with about their class project.

Students should include the following when collecting information from other people:

  • Who they are/introduction  (This may not always be necessary, as many students enlist the help of friends or family to collect data for a class project.)
  • The fact that they are conducting a class project.
  • What participants will be asked to do. ("I would like to ask you some questions about …., . If there are any questions you don't want to answer, it is fine to skip them".)
  • How long the interview, survey, etc., may take to complete.
  • What will happen to the information they collect ("The information will be used to write my paper for the class, and I will give a presentation in class. All of my notes, surveys, etc., will be destroyed when the project is completed.")
  • Whether (and how) participants will be identified: ("I will not write your name on my notes"; "Do not write your name on the survey;" "I will not use your name in my paper;" "I will use a numerical code to identify you.")
  • That participants may contact the student if they have any questions (provide phone number/email).
  • Ask participants if they understand the information or have any questions
  • Ask participants if they agree to participate.
  • Students may want to have an information sheet to hand to possible participants with all of the above information on it even though they will not sign it.

Last Updated 8/28/17

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