Ethical informed consent

When completing an evaluation, the evaluator must be conscious of various ethical issues and concerns that may occur. One ethical concern is that of informed consent. All participants and stakeholders must be willing to participate in the evaluation. According to Holm-Hansen, participants have the right to: choose whether or not to participate without penalties (participation should not be a requirement for receiving services), withdraw their participation at any time, and refuse to complete any part of the project (October 2007). In the case of the program I have chosen to evaluate, there are a large number of stakeholders; from the committees, to the nominees, to the judge’s/jury members, to the local citizens and organizations that benefit from the program. When addressing the ethical concern of informed consent, I must realize how each stakeholder is involved in the program and then let them know their purpose and benefit of participation with the evaluation. This will allow me to efficiently and adequately address the ethical concern of informed consent.

A second ethical concern is that of confidentiality. Confidentiality is an important ethical concern in most aspects of life, and completing an evaluation is no different. To ensure confidentiality, an evaluator must: collect data in a private location where surveys cannot be seen and interviews cannot be overheard, do not discuss information about individual participants with other people, keep completed surveys or interviews in a secure location where they cannot be seen by other people, and securely dispose of completed material when it is no longer needed (Holms-Hansen, 2007). To ensure confidentiality when evaluating my chosen program, it is critical that I do not complete any interviews and/or surveys in public areas, but rather complete them in individual offices or in a non-occupied interview/conference rooms. Another important aspect is to not lay completed surveys or interview notes where others may see. If for instance, I conduct an interview before my volunteer shift, I must not put this interview with my other belongings, unless they are locked in a locker.

A final ethical concern has to do with the evaluator’s roles and the ethical issues that may develop within the role. There are four standards that an evaluator must follow and they are: utility, feasibility, propriety, and accuracy. When following utility, an evaluator must make sure evaluations address important questions, provide clear and understandable results, and include meaningful recommendations (Holms-Hansen, 2007). Accuracy is also a very important standard that should be followed by the evaluator. The information should be collected, analyzed, reported and interpreted accurately and impartially. Ensuring accurate and un-bias information is collected and reported is necessary for an evaluator to provide the most ethical and beneficial evaluation for a program.

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