Office Confidentiality Statement
The Office of Institutional Research & Planning Practices to Inform and Protect the Confidentiality of Survey Participants
All subjects will be informed:
- of the purposes of the research
- of the expected duration of the subject’s participation
- by whose authority the research is performed
- of any benefits to the subject or to others which may reasonably be expected from the research
- who to contact for answers to pertinent questions about the research and research subject’s rights
- how they were selected
- that the results may be published
- where they can see the results of the project
- that their responses will be confidential
What is meant by confidential?
Survey responses are a special type of communication protected in the following ways:
- First, at the design stage of the research project the potential benefits of the research are weighed against the invasion of privacy required to collect responses and the possible harm resulting from a breach of confidentiality.
- Second, once collected, responses are stored in a restricted environment accessible only to office staff knowledgeable about the importance of confidentiality. Typically, this is a password restricted computer environment.
- Third, responses are not reported whereby a survey respondent could be identified or the data furnished by or related to any particular person could be identified.
- Fourth, individual responses are shared outside the office only with researchers who agree to adhere to these standards.
The above statements comply with Association for Institutional Research Code of Ethics and Federal human subjects research review committee standards for survey research involving minimal risk to participants. Disregard for these standards by office staff will be cause for disciplinary review and, if egregious, may result in dismissal.