The opportunity to conduct research using human subjects is a professional privilege. With that privilege comes responsibilities. The most basic of these responsibilities is to recognize that research has the potential to harm its subjects, directly or indirectly, and to strive to minimize that potential. Harm may be social, psychological, financial, or physical. In addition to the research subject, individuals discussed in a study, investigators, society, and UW-Stout as an institution, may be subject to harm. Research can never be free from risk, but, as professionals, investigators and other key personnel involved in a study must be aware of risks and work to minimize them.
UW-Stout's policies and procedures for working with human subjects are guided by the ethical principles set forth in The Belmont Report. Following Congressional directive, the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research outlined basic ethical principals for guiding research with human subjects in 1979. These principles will be discussed at length in Module 3.