Ethical Principles

The following basic ethical principles from the Belmont Report apply to all projects involving humans at The New School. These principles guide the university in its responsibilities regarding all human research, creative, and professional activity conducted by affiliate faculty, staff, and students regardless of the source of funding.


Respect for Persons

Acknowledge and protect

Respect for persons means that individuals should be treated as autonomous agents, and that persons with diminished autonomy are entitled to protection. The principle of respect for persons includes the requirement to acknowledge autonomy and to protect those with diminished autonomy. It is an opportunity for a person to choose what shall or shall not happen to them. This opportunity is provided when adequate standards for informed consent are satisfied.

Informed consent is a good practice for all projects involving humans. The New School has templates for documented informed consent, verbal/oral informed consent and web based informed consent.



Do no harm

Beneficence means that people should be protected from harm by making efforts to secure their well-being. The principle of beneficence is an obligation to maximize possible benefits and minimize possible harms. It is an opportunity for a person to weight the pros and cons of whether or not to participate in any research, creative, or professional activity. This opportunity is provided when an assessment of risks and benefits are a carefully considered.

Mitigating any anticipated risks, stresses, discomforts, or harms is a good practice for all projects involving humans.



Equity if unequal

Justice means that there should be fairness in the distribution of burdens and benefits. The principle of justice demands dignity for disenfranchised or disadvantaged populations. Justice requires that burden is not unduly imposed on one group while another group benefits. It is an opportunity to implement additional protections for vulnerable people. This opportunity is provided when the population characteristics are justifiable and the recruitment procedures are appropriate.

Bias awareness in selecting a target population and advertising is a good practice for all projects involving humans.