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Defining Risk

First, it is important to define risk so that it can be identified in your study.  Risk is the potential for harm.  It is a prediction of a probable outcome based on evidence from previous experience.  The nature of risk and harm can vary in daily life, creating different dimensions of risk that are subject to the factors at play in the study. Some participants and/or study populations are inherently more sensitive to risk because of their situations. The lasting effects of the risks in the study should also be considered when analyzing risk levels. Researchers have an ethical obligation to do no harm, or in other words to not make a situation worse. Thus it is important to consider all the factors involved when conducting a study and where there is a potential for harm to participants.

Section Topics

Types of Harm
Minimal Risk

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