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Tests & Measures: Ethical Considerations

Ethics & guidelines

Before you can start giving tests to your research group, there are some very important things to keep in mind.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Any research that involves people (including giving them tests) must be approved by the IRB at Walden.  You can find more information and needed forms at the IRB's Research Ethics & Compliance website.

You will need to follow the IRB Review Process, including submitting any necessary documentation before you get too far into your research. The IRB has a number of documents and FAQs you can refer to as well. You should know what is expected and what steps you need to take to administer tests before you begin.

Learn more about Walden's research policies and research integrity at Walden University Research Integrity and Compliance Policies.

Learn More

You can learn more about research using human subjects at the following websites:


Definition of human subjects from the Code of Federal Regulations

(f) Human subject means a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains

(1) Data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or
(2) Identifiable private information.

Public Welfare, 45 C.F.R. § 46.102 (2009).

Get permission

Both published and unpublished tests are under copyright. If you plan on using tests in your published research (including dissertations), you must get permission from the copyright holder. If you need to use a test for a weekly discussion or assignment you do not need to get permission as discussions or assignments are not considered published material.


For published tests, you will need to contact the publisher to purchase the test and obtain permission to use it.  Some published tests can only be administered by authorized parties.  Be sure to check with the test publisher to find out if you are qualified to administer tests. 

Many publishers will now send requestors to the Copyright Clearance Center at Put the journal title in the upper-right search box and follow the steps for pay-per-use. Depending on the journal, year, and element(s) wanted, there may or may not be a fee. Usage for Thesis/Dissertation falls under Republish or display content.


Before using unpublished tests, you will need to obtain permission from the author of the test. You need to get permission even if the entire test is available in an article, book, website, etc.

Not sure what to say in your letter or email to an author?  Ask your faculty. They can help you come up with the appropriate language to use.  Be sure that the subject heading of your email is descriptive and that the email itself is written in professional language.