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Confidentiality Procedures

The primary risk to subjects in research in the social and behavioral sciences in the humanities is an inadvertent disclosure of data when:

  1. The information you collect from or about your subjects is identifiable, either directly or indirectly, and
  2. Disclosure of the information could harm research participants. Possible harms range from a damaged reputation to criminal prosecution for engaging in illegal activities.

Confidentiality refers to the agreements you make with subjects about how you will collect, store, and use the information they share with you.

This guide offers sample text for describing your confidentiality procedures to your research subjects based on four general scenarios. Do not use the samples uncritically because they may not be right for your study.

Five general scenarios (click the arrow to read the full text):

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