Ethics

Additional Information

TEACHING ETHICS THROUGHOUT THE CURRICULUM

Topic: Confidentiality

The importance of maintaining the confidentiality of private information about individuals obtained in the course of research, teaching, and practice has been long-recognized. Privacy refers to the right of an individual to have control over the extent, timing, and circumstances of revealing personal aspects of one's life to others. Confidentiality generally means that private information about an individual will not be shared without his or her consent. However, there may be situations in which private information about an individual becomes known without consent. For example, an organizational consultant may have access to employee records in order to study salary equity and its influence on company growth.

The maintenance of confidentiality has become increasingly complex with the development of new methods of creating and handling records and electronic technologies for the transfer of information, the trend toward data sharing, and statutory and institutional limitations on confidentiality. 

Knowledge of basic institutional, state, and Federal requirements and constraints on confidentiality in research and teaching; thoughtful analysis of how research data may be used in the future; and training research staff and teaching assistants in responsibilities to maintain confidentiality are important.

Case 33. Preservation of Confidential Information in Teaching

Case 34. Confidentiality of Information Obtained during the Course of a Sociologist's Work

Case 35. Enforcement Agencies and the Protection of Human Subjects

Case 36. Dual Roles and Student Confidentiality

Case 37. Respondent Confidentiality

Case 38. Data Ownership and Promises of Confidentiality

Case 39. Linking Data Sets

Case 40. Data Sharing and Potential Future Uses

Case 41. Confidentiality, Technology and Teaching

Case 42. Email

Case 43. Privacy

Case 44. Collegial Confidentiality

Case 45. Withholding Information

Case 46. Confidentiality of Subject Data

Case 47. Maintaining Confidentiality of Faculty Hiring Discussions

Case 48. Legal Requests/Requirements for Confidential Data from Research Field Notes

Case 49. Electronic Transfer of Confidential Research Data