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As outlined in the Belmont Report of 1979, the core elements underlying the ethical treatment of research participants are autonomy (respect for persons), beneficence, and justice. Providing adequate information and obtaining active consent for research participation are central to autonomy and respect for persons. Acknowledging the importance of autonomy requires that every potential research participant must be afforded adequate time and opportunity to make his or her own informed and voluntary decision about whether or not he or she wishes to participate in a research study. This requires the provision of adequate information about the study and, in theory, also requires that no pressure be exerted to participate. The principle of autonomy also requires that special protections be given to potentially vulnerable populations such as ...

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