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Academic writers have the ethical responsibility to protect their sources of data, to inform participants of how personal information will be secured, and to inform participants when anonymity cannot be safeguarded. The informed consent document, reviewed prior to data collection, conveys the appropriate information to potential participants. In this way, participants understand whether or not they will be identifiable and how this affects their decision to participate. This entry elaborates on these three points.

Responsibility to protect sources coincides with the principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice as set forth in the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research’s 1979 report Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, commonly called the Belmont Report. ...

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