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Resources :: Guide :: Research in an educational setting :: Education study risks :: Lack of voluntary participation

Lack of Voluntary Participation

School systems tend to have strong hierarchical relationships.  Be careful to create a recruitment process that encourages voluntary participation.  For example, while a principal can distribute information about a study and announce that he or she has approved the study to be conducted in the school (i.e. by sending a letter to parents indicating that the school approves the project), the principal should not be involved in directly recruiting and consenting teachers.  Likewise, a teacher can provide information about the study to his or her students, but the students and/ or parents may feel more comfortable contacting the researcher if they have questions or concerns about their child’s participation in the study.  There may be instances in which the principal or administrator requires that a new instructional method be implemented in the school; although the teacher may be required to implement the new method, the teacher and students should be allowed to consent to the data collection aspect of the study in a non-coercive way. Make sure that the participants in the study are also able to freely withdraw from the study.

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