e-Informatica Software Engineering Journal Reporting Consent, Anonymity and Confidentiality Procedures Adopted in Empirical Studies Using Human Participants

Reporting Consent, Anonymity and Confidentiality Procedures Adopted in Empirical Studies Using Human Participants

[1]Deepika Badampudi, Farnaz Fotrousi, Bruno Cartaxo and Muhammad Usman, "Reporting Consent, Anonymity and Confidentiality Procedures Adopted in Empirical Studies Using Human Participants", In e-Informatica Software Engineering Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 220109, 2022. DOI: 10.37190/e-Inf220109.

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Deepika Badampudi, Farnaz Fotrousi, Bruno Cartaxo, Muhammad Usman


Background: Empirical studies involving human participants need to follow procedures to avoid causing harm to the subjects. However, it is not always clear how researchers should report these procedures.

Aim: This study investigates how researchers report ethical issues in the software engineering journal publications, particularly informed consent, confidentiality, and anonymity.

Method: We conducted a literature review to understand the reporting of ethical issues in software engineering journals. In addition, in a workshop, we discussed the importance of reporting the different ethical issues.

Results: The results indicate that 49 out of 95 studies reported some ethical issues. Only six studies discussed all three ethical issues. The subjects were mainly informed about the study purpose and procedure. There are limited discussions on how the subjects were informed about the risks involved in the study. Studies reported on how authors ensured confidentiality have also discussed anonymity in most cases. The results of the workshop discussion indicate that reporting ethical issues is important to improve the reliability of the research results. We propose a checklist based on the literature review, which we validated through a workshop.

Conclusion: The checklist proposed in this paper is a step towards enhancing ethical reporting in software engineering research.


research ethics, informed consent, confidentiality, anonymity


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