By Leah Goldstein Moses Each August, the Improve Group staff takes a day out of the office to learn in depth about a topic that we’ve been addressing that year. This year, we focused on working ethically, respectfully and responsibly with people as we do our work. A person that participates in research or evaluation is called a “human subject”. They are the person about whom we are collecting data. Sometimes, the human subject is not actually the person who provides the data. For example, when a principal provides data about the students in her school, the students are the human subject, not the principal. People should have the opportunity to choose whether or not to participate in research. When making that choice, they give their consent. In order to make that choice, people need to know: •How they were selected to participate •The purpose of the study •What they will be asked to do during the study •Any risks or benefits they could experience from participating in the study •Whether they will be compensated for their participation •What level of confidentiality can be assured •That they can quit participating at any time •How to get more information about the study For children or for adults who have difficulty understanding this information, extra precautions should be taken, including involving guardians as appropriate. Thanks to J. Michael Oakes for leading our training and the lively discussion that followed!