When conducting a research study that includes human subjects, it is important to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all participants. This is not only important to protect exposure of personal information but to encourage participation in research without fear of punishment or embarrassment for responses to potentially personal or sensitive questions.
While privacy addresses the right of a person to protect their personal choices—what information they choose to disclose, how and when they choose to disclose it—confidentiality addresses the treatment and use of these data once collected. Confidentiality is as important as privacy and ensuring confidentiality protects the participant by making the information unidentifiable to non-researchers, and encourages participants to participate in current and future programs.
The Ethical Considerations page includes resources and more information about the steps you should take to ensure that the rights of your participants are carefully considered.