Ethical Research: Maintaining Privacy, Anonymity & Confidentiality

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  • 0:07 Right to Protection
  • 0:51 Privacy
  • 1:55 Confidentiality
  • 3:03 Anonymity
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

When performing research, there are certain expectations that a researcher must follow to protect their subjects. We will explore a few of the different ways that a subject's responses are kept from being used against them.

Right to Protection

Psychologists often study things of a deeply personal nature, and in this world of everything being interconnected on the Internet, it is now easier than ever to violate what was considered private and safe just a few years ago. We see this in Section 4 of the Ethics Code, Privacy and Confidentiality. In addition to the Ethics Code, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, has specific guidelines for holding onto files and information. Since you are subject to both, I'll just roll them together. Remember, these were put in place to protect subjects from harm that might occur by slipshod or unethical practices.

Privacy

Privacy is the protection of personal information provided to the psychologist that cannot be released unless established criteria are met. An example of common criteria to release information is that the safety of the individual or another is in jeopardy, meaning the person is suicidal or homicidal, and the psychologist is required to alert authorities. Another criterion that would allow information to be released is the removal of all identifying information.

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