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Publication Summary of Human Subjects Protection Issues Related to Large Sample Surveys

Joan E. Sieber

June 1, 2001    NCJ 187692

Identifies best practices that may be used to make large sample surveys, particularly the National Crime Victimization Survey, ethically sound and compliant with the Common Rule. The Common Rule sets forth the role and operation of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the required elements of the research protocol and the informed consent, and general criteria for IRB review and approval. The following practices were examined:

  • risks and benefits of participation in sample surveys that address sensitive topics
  • procedures to protect respondent privacy and assure data confidentiality
  • procedures for minimizing risks and promoting benefits to respondents
  • procedures for responding to a request for help or assistance
  • procedures for responding to revelations of a situation which may be required by statute to be reported to appropriate authorities
  • dangers and safeguards for vulnerable populations
  • efforts to minimize refusals to participate in surveys concerned with sensitive topics
  • survey procedures for informed consent; and effects of signed consent forms on response rates.

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