Respect for Human Beings

Respect for Human Beings

Respect is an overarching consideration and represents recognition of each human being’s intrinsic value. As such, making opportunity for human beings to exercise autonomy and make their own decisions is paramount, as is a commitment to participant welfare over and above research goals. Respect requires prior knowledge of and due regard for culture, values, customs, beliefs and practices, both individual and collective, of those involved in research. It also requires mindfulness of differences in values and culture between researchers and participants, thus avoiding ‘difference blindness’ which can undermine both trustful relationships as well as research integrity.

Respect involves honouring the rights, privacy, dignity, entitlements and diversity of those contributing to research. Informed consent is fundamental to upholding the principle of respect, in giving a research participant the choice to voluntarily participate in the research process. Informed consent means a participant is given clear information about the research, is able to choose not to participate and is able to withdraw at any time, without consequence.

In practice, the principle of Respect for Human Beings can be broken down into three concepts:

Informed Consent

Research participants choose to participate with full knowledge of the research and their involvement in it. This decision is conveyed to the researcher and can change at any time.

Cultural Competence

Researchers are well-informed, capable and confident of ensuring the research environment is safe, comfortable and culturally appropriate.

Privacy and Confidentiality

The rights and dignity of the research participants are respected at all times, including privacy and confi-dentiality before, during and after the research takes place.

Respect for Human Beings: Self-assessment Checklist

This checklist will help you to identify areas where you may require further work or preparation in your research process in applying the principle of Respect for Human Beings.

Respect for Human Beings: Self-assessment Checklist
Research Design
Is the research designed to uphold and promote human rights?
Has the research context been considered in the research design?
Will free and informed consent be obtained and ensured throughout the research process?
Do you have a plan to protect confidentiality and anonymity? Will participants be effectively informed of this?
Do you have a method for obtaining and recording informed consent?
Do you have a system or plan for managing data during and after the research?
Analysis and Reporting
Will the anonymity, confidentiality or privacy of the research participants be maintained through this process?
Dissemination and use
Will the research be conducted in a way that respects the rights and requests of participants?

You can also download a copy of the Self-assessment Checklist [PDF].

Once you have completed the checklist, refer back to the tools and information provided above to help fill any identified gaps.

You can find further assistance via the Training Module and Further Resources page.