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PO354 Environmental Justice: Ethical Considerations for Interviews

Best Practices

If you are interested in using ethical and best practices for interviewing human subjects, please consider the following: 

No longer have to worry about IRB:
With the revised IRB Common Rule (effective January 2019), the following activities are “deemed not to be research: (1) Scholarly and journalistic activities (e.g., oral history, journalism, biography, literary criticism, legal research and historical scholarship), including the collection and use of information that focus directly on the specific individuals about whom the information is collected.”‚Äč

However, there are best practices and ethical considerations that you should be mindful of when preparing to complete interviews for your projects:

  • Do NOT collect private information
    • Ensure that there is minimal risk for those you are interviewing 
  • Do NOT collection the information of Minors (children)
  • Document inform consent of participants

Best Practice Documentation:


If you have questions over your obligation for the protection of subjects from risks incurred as a result of participating in interviews, you can always pose your questions to your professor. 

Example Release Forms for Interviews

Before conducting your interviews you should converse with your interviewees on your intended use for the recording. If they agree to be recorded and to share their stories with you then the next steps would be to have them sign a release form.


A release form might include the following components:


  • the name and contact information of the person signing the form
  • a description of the project
  • any uses which will be made of the interview
  • any restrictions on the use of project material
  • copyright assignment (to the interviewer, or reserved by the interviewee)


Below I’m included examples of release forms from other University’s or archival repositories. Use these as examples when drafting your release forms for interviewees to sign:


Note: These are just two examples. There are a lot of examples of release forms out there and you can complete you own search if these examples do not fit your needs. 


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937

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