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Chapter 3

Research Ethics


Do You Need Informed Consent for Your Research Project?

The Office for Human Research Protections of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a website with decision charts that can help guide you in deciding if you need to provide your research participants with informed consent. This informed consent checklist webpage can be helpful in preparing your IRB application and the informed consent document you give to research participants.  Most universities follow these standards, but you should also check your university’s rules and procedures. Your university’s institutional review board is likely to post information about informed consent on your school’s website. Check to see if you can find it.


Ethical and Professional Codes for Scholarly Associations


Glossary of Commonly Used Words in Research Ethics


Guidelines for Federally-funded Research


Qualitative Research Ethics

Ethics in Qualitative Research -- edited by Tina Miller, Maxine Birch, Melanie Mauthner, & Julie Jessop--is an excellent source for communication researchers designing intermediate and advanced qualitative research projects.


The Association of Internet Researchers

The Association of Internet Researchers provides a great graphic for learning about research ethics with digital research.


Want to know more about the proposed changes to the Common Rule? 

The history and process of those changes can be found in Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule, published by the National Research Council by the National Academies. You can download a copy of it for free.


Unethical Experiments

  • Several unethical psychology experiments are described here and here

  • You can find several fictional depictions of unethical experimentation in pop culture, for example, this scene in the movie Ghostbusters (1984). 



Updated April 10, 2021


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