Minimizing Potential Harm

Sensitive topics and questions in your survey have the potential to produce psychological discomfort for respondents. For instance, respondents may feel embarrassed when asked to reveal deviant behavior. These types of questions should be minimized or avoided when possible.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to protect respondents from any potential harm caused by participation in the survey. The survey should not mislead, humiliate, or embarrass respondents.

At minimum, you must do this by protecting a survey taker’s right to privacy and confidentiality, but be sure to take additional measures as warranted by the nature and content of your survey.

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