There are a number of ethical standards that have been accepted throughout the UK and abroad which all researchers and ethical committees are expected to comply with.
All participants must be fully informed of the study and what is being asked of them, including the potential risks/benefits and exclusion criteria, in order to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to participate in the research. This must be an active step on behalf of the participant and not due to any inducement, coercion or perceived pressure to participate. This is required of all participants in a research study, except where there is a justification for covert research or deception (such cases will be considered on an individual basis by the ethics committee).
Benefit not harm
Research involving human participants must have a benefit to society and the risks involved to participants must be balanced against the potential benefit to the overall community.
All participants have the right for their participation to remain confidential in that only the researcher will be aware who has participated. Generally all data will also be anonymous in the final report so that nothing can be attributed back to an individual participant. There are exceptions, for instance where participants wish to be identified or they cannot realistically have their identities kept confidential, but written informed consent must be obtained from the individual participant in advance.