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Human Subjects Protections

Since World War II, institutional structures and procedures for prior and ongoing review of research projects in compliance with professional ethical codes and government regulations have been developed to protect the interests of people engaged as living subjects of formal scientific studies. Studies of educational practices, including experiments, surveys, and analysis of school records, are among the types of research covered by these ethical regimes, although education studies in the United States have a somewhat special position under the regulatory Common Rule (CR). This entry discusses the reasons for the protection of human subjects in research and how these protections developed. It then discusses the CR, including its scope, institutional review board (IRB) processes, and criticisms of the application of the rule to social science ...

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