Educational Research Journal


1987.第2卷(Vol. 2).pp. 101–103


The Implication of the Principle of Informed Consent in Educational Research in School

李瑞全(Shui-Chuen LEE)




This paper investigates those normative rules of educational researches in school that are implied by the principle of informed consent when these researches involve immature students. First, since the principle is usually derived from the principles of autonomy and non-maleficence, and as the supposed research objects are immature students, thus, it is argued that in the field of educational research in school, this principle relies basically upon the principle of non-maleficence, and its employment requires a guardian to act as the second party to make the consent. In regards of this second party this paper argues that, in general, when there is no risk or the risk is practically insignificant, the school could be accepted as the second party. In case of significant risks, the student's family guardian should be the proper second party, while the school plays the role of advisory consultant. No matter who is the second party man, his consent must fulfill the constraint under the principle of non-maleficence and should only be made with a proper understanding of the relevant information of the research. In compiling with the rights of the students which are granted to them by human rights and the principle of non-maleficence, researchers and guardians must do their best to explain to the students the purpose, method, procedure and possible risks of the research in the language that they could understand, and to confirm their consent. In principle, no compulsory participation should be demanded of the students, because this would violate the principle of non-maleficence that both the guardian and the researcher must observe.