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Every evaluation, in one way or another, involves collecting information from people—by observation, interviews, surveys, tests, existing documents, and records. Ethical evaluators need to take precautions to ensure that the rights of the people from whom they collect data are protected. These rights include, but are not limited to, the right to privacy, the right to confidentiality, and the right to choose whether to participate in a study without penalty and with an understanding of the benefits and risks.

Concern for the protection of human subjects first received prominent attention in the 1970s. The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research held hearings and published The Belmont Report, which brought attention to some of the abuses of human subjects ...

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