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Ethical Practice

Principles and Guidelines for Research with Vulnerable Individuals and Families


Most of our empirical research is conducted with the co-operation of children or families who are vulnerable because of age, trauma history, emotional fragility, institutional status, or involvement with the legal system. For these reasons, the standard principles of ethical research practice must be augmented in our work. This 8-page document reviews ethical study design, definition of a pool of potential subjects, contacting subjects, seeking their participation, safe handling of information collected, and dissemination of results. Also listed are the 12 principles guiding all research at the Centre.


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Ethical Practice: Principles and Guidelines for Research with Vulnerable Individuals and Families (file size 426KB)


Table of Contents

  • Developing the Guidlines

    1. Professionals Obligations to Clients

    2. Codes of Ethics

    3. Feminist Principles

    4. Legal Requirements

    5. Augmenting the Standard Safeguards

  • Choice of Research Topics

  • Ethical Study Design

    1. Commitment of Quality Research

    2. Benefit to Participants

    3. Deception

    4. Intrusiveness

    5. Protection from Harm

    6. Compensation

    7. Concessions for Children

  • Locating Potential Participants

    1. Contact Through the Mail

    2. On-going Legal Proceedings

  • Seeking Consent

    1. Letter of Information for Participants

    2. Denial of Service

    3. Consent from Children

    4. Consent for Access to Third-party Information

  • Handling of Information

    1. Confidentiality

    2. Anonymity

    3. File Storage

    4. Later Access to Research Records

    5. Third-party Information

    6. Record Destruction

  • General Information

    • Responsibility

    • External Review

    • Insurance

  • Dissemination of Results

  • Selected Resources


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