Abstract

As part of human subjects protections, researchers are required to analyze and minimize all potential risks to research participants connected with the study procedures. These include physical, psychological, social, legal, loss of confidentiality or other potential risks. The researcher needs to consider all of the potential risks including whether "any disclosure of the subjects responses outside of the research could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects' financial standing, employability, insurability, or reputation.Therefore, for research that results in datasets containing sensitive personal information, loss of confidentiality/privacy is often the primary risk that must be managed. In sexuality research for example, information about a person's marital infidelity or whether they have ever been prescribed a drug to treat a sexually transmitted infection could easily affect their reputation or be used in legal cases such as divorce proceedings. Therefore, protection of the identities of research participants is critical to the ongoing process of scientific investigations that deal with sensitive data.

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