When you collect information from or about program participants, you have an obligation to handle the information ethically.
Best Practices in Ethical Measurement
  • Participants must consent to share information voluntarily.
    • Be sure to obtain consent from participants. This is especially important with youth. If you already have a consent form in place, be sure to add in language about consenting to participate in measurement activities.
  • Be careful with incentives.
    • While it is appropriate to provide incentives for participating in measurement activities, large incentives – generally more than $20 – may be coercive.
  • When working with vulnerable populations and discussing sensitive topics, you must be prepared to provide support.
    • Data collectors must be prepared to provide immediate support if participants become upset.
    • Have appropriate referral resources available for additional support if needed.
  • Consider whether sensitive information should be protected through anonymity.
    • Thoughtfully allow and restrict access to sensitive information.
    • Consider when it is most appropriate to assign numbers to participant data, rather than names, to protect sensitive information.
  • Ensure data are stored securely.
    • Work with IT to restrict access to data in electronic files through password protection.
    • Store hard copies of data in a locked cabinet.