Respect for the autonomy and dignity of persons

Respect for the autonomy and dignity of persons: continued

Researchers should respect the knowledge, insight, experience and expertise of participants and potential participants. They should also respect individual, cultural and role differences. Researchers should avoid any unfair, prejudiced or discriminatory practice, for example in participant selection or in the content of the research itself. 

Researchers should respect the privacy of individuals, and ensure that they are not personally identifiable, apart from in exceptional circumstances and then only with clear, unambiguous informed consent. They should respect confidentiality, and ensure that information or data collected about individuals are appropriately anonymised and cannot be traced back to them, even if the participants themselves are not troubled by a potential loss of confidentiality. Where a participant wishes to have their voice heard and their identity linked with this, researchers will try to respect such a wish.

Good researchers will make sure that people’s rights are always respected.

Scientific value

Research should be designed, reviewed and conducted in a way that ensures its quality, integrity and contribution to the development of knowledge and understanding. Research that is poorly designed or conducted wastes resources and devalues the contribution of the participants. At worst it can lead to misleading information being published and can have the potential to cause harm.

Researchers should make sure that the scientific design of the research is of a sufficiently high standard and robustness. They should consider the potential risks of harm and protocols for addressing such difficulties (should they arise). It is important that the aims of the research are as transparent as possible to ensure that it is clear what the research intends to achieve.

These pages have been adapted from the GCU code of good practice in research, the GCU research ethics booklet, and the BPS code of human research ethics.