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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM

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2.2 Right to privacy

Due regard for the privacy of research participants is an important element of the ethical design and conduct of human research. Research participants have the right to expect that their data or responses collected during the research project is private. Data can be anonymous, where a specific person can’t be connected to their data (e.g. self-administered questionnaires). Data is confidential, where at least one person can connect a specific person to their responses or actions (e.g. an interview study), but the researchers assure to keep the data private. Aggregating the data also helps maintain privacy, as does destroying raw data when it is no longer needed (McKinney, 2007).

Researchers in possession of personal information and data must store and manage it responsibly and in accordance with the consent obtained, and as per the data management procedures of the institutional Research Ethics Committee.

In SoTL research, privacy is often an issue in terms of the confidentiality of the content or quality of student work. SoTL researchers must consider issues of privacy, offer reasonable protection of privacy and make the level of privacy clear to participants (McKinney, 2007).

Booklet 5 in AHRECS (2016) discusses some of the privacy issues that can arise in SoTL research and the possible strategies for resolving challenges.