Skip to Content

Resources :: Guide :: Research in an educational setting :: Collecting data in an educational setting :: Studies where student identity is known

Studies Where Student Identity Is Known

If you are unable to collect data from participants without collecting identifying information as well, it is important to demonstrate that the data are collected in a confidential manner and will be properly stored. It is important that the data are collected, studied, and stored so that students’ identities are kept confidential. If you are collecting sensitive information about university student participants, it may be appropriate to restrict who has access to this information; in the case of undergraduate and graduate researchers or research assistants, the Board may not allow them to collect and/or view sensitive information about their fellow students.

When the Instructor is the Researcher

As the instructor of the class, whether your students are minors or adults, you have a position of authority over your students and also over their parents (if parents are a part of the study). As you will collect confidential materials about your students, the Board may ask that this information be collected by a third party, such as another researcher who does not have the same influence over the students, or a research assistant.  The optimal way to conduct this type of study would be that the students’ teacher would receive a data set that is stripped of identifiers and the teacher will not be able to or will not attempt to deduce the identities of the participants. The Board understands that this may not always be possible; however, the Board will want to you to provide a thorough justification of your data collection methods and explain how the participants will be protected.  In some cases, the Board may not be able to approve studies where the conflict of interest proves to be too great of a risk to the students. However, the Board will work with you to devise a methodology that is acceptable to both parties.

Previous :: Anonymous survey
Next :: Return to research in an educational setting