ETHICAL GUIDELINES (AND DATA PROTECTION)
It is very important that you gain informed consent from research respondents/participants, ensure their anonymity in the communication of research findings, and respect data protection laws.In both interviews and surveys, promises of confidentiality are often made to respondents. These must be respected.
You may need to explain to an interviewee or respondent that their responses will be treated with confidence and at all times data will presented in such a way that their identity cannot be known to others.
Following Data Protection and Human Rights legislation, you should only use data for the purposes that were declared on the questionnaire or stated at the start of an interview. Where you are undertaking an interview, you are normally supposed to ask participants to sign an ethical consent form. In some parts of the world, not least rural Africa, this does not make much sense. But you must at least explain what you are doing and must ensure that you do not put your interlocutor under pressure or do them any harm
Where the data is particularly sensitive or substantial you may want to include a statement in the questionnaire granting permission for the data to be used in connection with the research and ask respondents to sign. Again, this may not always be possible
ETHICAL CONSENT FORM
Consent and SignaturePlease read the below information carefully, think about your decision, and if you agree please sign below. I acknowledge that I was informed by X [name of interviewer] of [name of interviewer’s organisation/ affiliation) of the reasons for my interview today. I understand that participation in this study is entirely voluntary and that I can withdraw from the study at any time without giving a reason.I understand that I am free to ask any questions at any time. If for any reason I experience discomfort during participation in this project, I am free to withdraw. I understand that my name will only be used if expressed, written consent is given, and otherwise the information provided by me will be held totally anonymously, so that it is impossible to trace this information back to me individually. I understand that, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, this information may be retained indefinitely.I consent to participate in the study conducted by [name of interviewer] of [name of interviewer’s organisation/ affiliation).
I give consent for my name to be used*:YesNoI give consent for my company’s name to be used*:YesNo*Please circle your answer
For guidance on how to protect data once you have collected it, read USAID’s report on DATA SECURITY GUIDANCE: PROTECTING BENEFICIARIES here.
GOING FURTHER (ETHICS)
Ethical Principles, Dilemmas and Risks in Collecting Data on Violence against Children. A review of available literature