This paper dwells upon ways to mitigate human protection, confidentiality, and privacy issues. The evaluator has to obtain written consent, code personal information and can resort to the assistance of other professionals if necessary. This is the way ethical issues can be addressed.
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Any research has to be conducted with specific attention to ethical issues. There are numerous hazards in this sphere and evaluators have to make sure that participants’ privacy and confidentiality are respected. Royse, Thyer and Padgett (2009) stress that participants may encounter a variety of issues if their data are revealed. These problems may occur at people’s workplace as well as in their private life. Inability of researchers to meet participants’ expectations on privacy may result in distorted results as people may provide false data. There are a number of ways that can be employed to mitigate risks associated with ethical issues.
Issues That May Occur
It is essential for the evaluator to make sure that the person’s participation will not lead to psychological issues. For instance, Royse et al. (2009) note that a person who had some traumatic experience can obtain another trauma through participating in research and bringing back certain painful memories. To mitigate this risk, it is essential to carry out the project with the supervision of a psychologist who could help participants cope with their psychological traumas. It is especially important to pay attention to this aspect when working with vulnerable groups (for example, people with mental disabilities, elderly people, children, minorities, and so on).
As far as confidentiality is concerned, participants of research may have troubles at their working place if some data get published or will become known to employers, colleagues, relatives, and so on. A person who abused substance (or used to have legal issues) may try to conceal this information from employers or other people and this is the person’s right (Stringer, 2013). It is essential to ensure participants’ confidentiality.
If the research requires the use of information that can be in any way harmful to the participant, the evaluator has to make sure that personal data will not be used (for example, numeric codes should be utilized) (Adler & Clark, 2014). These concerns arise at the stage of choosing participants as some people may be afraid to participate or refuse since they will try to keep their data private (Royse et al., 2009). It is also important to make sure that the fact of participation of a person will remain unrevealed.
Finally, privacy issues should also be mitigated. Participants have to understand the peculiarities of the research and should be able to withdraw from the research any time they want to. A written consent form can help mitigate the risks associated with privacy and human protection as participants will know major details concerning the research and will be able to decide whether they will participate.
Royse et al. (2009) state that some people may be afraid to refuse to take part in research due to a variety of reasons. The written consent form should include information on privacy as well as other major ethical issues. In this way, the researcher will inform participants who will understand whether they are totally safe when taking part in this or that research. The evaluator has to make sure that participants are volunteers who have made a thoughtful decision.
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In conclusion, it is possible to note that evaluators have to try to mitigate privacy, confidentiality, and human protection issues. There are numerous ways to achieve this goal. The evaluator has to obtain written consent from participants, address psychologists or other professionals if necessary, and ensure personal information coding.
Adler, E., & Clark, R. (2014). An invitation to social research: How it’s done. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Royse, D., Thyer, B., & Padgett, D. (2009). Program evaluation: An introduction. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Stringer, E.T. (2013). Action Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.