New Human Subjects Research Principles and Guidance

On April 4, 2020, at the spring council meeting, the APSA Council approved and adopted the Principles and Guidance document submitted by the Ad Hoc Committee on Human Subjects Research (co-chairs: Scott Desposato and Trisha Phillips). Political scientists who are conducting research involving human subjects may now consult the newly approved document to review the principles and guidance, which range across a variety of topics.

Read the Human Subjects Research Principles and Guidance.

Background and Timeline

In 2017 the ad hoc committee was charged with identifying broad principles of ethics relating to research on human subjects that can guide individual scholars in the design and practice of their research and informing institutional review boards about current standards and practices in Political Science research. The ad hoc committee focused on broad human subject research principles that span the discipline of political science.

  • In early spring 2019, the ad hoc committee submitted a report and a set of draft principles and guidance to the APSA committee on Ethics, Professional Rights and Freedoms (the ethics committee) for a preliminary review. The ethics committee reviewed the document and offered feedback.
  • In June 2019, the draft principles and guidance document, along with the ethics committee’s feedback and recommendations, were submitted to the APSA executive committee.
  • During the fall of 2019, APSA posted the ad hoc committee’s report and principles and guidance, along with the ethics committee’s response, online for member comment.
  • In early spring 2020, based on member and organized section feedback, and the ethics committee’s comments, the ad hoc committee updated the draft principles and guidance document. The revised document was then submitted to the APSA council for review and approval at the 2020 Spring Council Meeting.
  • On April 4, 2020, the council approved the revised human subjects research principles and guidance document.

APSA would like to thank ad hoc committee co-chairs, Scott Desposato and Trisha Phillips, and their committee for their hard work drafting these new principles.

Researchers who are conducting research that involves human subjects research are encouraged to review the new principles and guidance.