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Informed consent is a central ethical principle in collecting data from people. Awareness of the need for informed consent arose from the Nuremburg trials of Nazi scientists, who had used concentration camp prisoners for horrifying medical experiments. The Nuremburg Code, developed after the trials, established subjects' right to give voluntary informed consent prior to participation in research. The Program Evaluation Standards and the Guiding Principles for Evaluators both reinforce evaluators' obligation to obtain informed consent for data collection.

Informed consent is based on the principles of respect and autonomy. Individuals have the right to choose whether to participate in a study and may discontinue their participation at any time. Informed consent means that the person being asked to participate knows what a reasonable person in the ...

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