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Responsibilities to Participants

Researchers, when they carry out research, enter into personal and moral relationships with those they study or work with, be they individuals, households, social groups or corporate entities. Although researchers are committed to the advancement of knowledge, that goal does not, of itself, provide an entitlement to override the rights of others. Researchers should be aware that they have some responsibility for the use to which their data may be put and for how the research is to be disseminated. Researchers also have a responsibility to ensure that the physical, social and psychological well-being of research participants is not adversely affected by the research. They should strive to protect the rights of those they study, their interests, sensitivities and privacy, while recognising the difficulty of balancing potentially conflicting interests. Because researchers sometimes engage in research activity that directly involves, or indirectly affects, relatively powerless social groups as well as those more powerful than themselves, research relationships are frequently characterised by disparities of power and status. Research relationships should be characterised, whenever possible, by trust and integrity. In some cases obligations of trust and protection may weigh less heavily but these obligations should not be discarded lightly.

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