Students sitting around a table talking

Protected Groups

When conducting studies with certain groups such as children and prisoners, the experimenter must fill out forms which ensure that the rights of the individuals involved will be protected.  The Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP) is an organization created to protect the rights of these individuals. OHRP has a variety of documents which experimenters must fill out in order to proceed with a study.

For research related to children, the OHRP has stringent guidelines related to the type of research which can be performed according to the benefits a child might receive from the experiment and any possibility of danger to the child.  For more concerning these guidelines, please visit the OHRP Procedures for Working with Children page for further details.

For research related to prisoners, OHRP protocol is designed to protect the rights of the prisoner and to ensure that a prisoner has not been coerced into participation and is volunteering to participate in the experiment.  For more concerning these guidelines, please visit the OHRP Guidance on the Involvement of Prisoners in Research page for further details.
 
Other special considerations must be taken into account when performing research with Native Americans, as the Native American tribes are recognized as sovereign nations under the protection of the United States.  It is recommended that before a researcher perform a study using a Native American population, he or she review the Model Tribal Research Code (PDF) in order to fully understand the particular legal stipulations created to protect this minority group.  Also, an article found at the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy page details some ethical considerations and recommendations for researchers working with a socially identifiable group like the Native American ethnic group.