Education Research

Description of the Problem

Suppose you have a strong interest in physics education, and in pursuit of that interest you want to assess the effectiveness of two different strategies for running recitation sections in large introductory physics courses. The professor who runs the course agrees that both of your proposed strategies have educational merit and that you can try them out on two independent sections of the class.

At the end of the term, you discover a clear difference in test performance between the students in the two different groups. You want to give a talk at an American Association of Physics Teachers meeting about your results.


  • What steps do you need to take in order to ensure the privacy of the students is adequately protected?
  • Do you need Human Research Approval in order to give the talk?
  • If you receive permission to give the talk, what additional steps do you have to take to protect the privacy of your students? 
  • Are there consequences to giving the talk without asking about Human Research Approval?
  • Does this violate any ethical guidelines?
Gray arrow Educational Research Discussion

Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services OHRP has extensive information and resources on human subjects research
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