» Code of Ethics - International Society for Quality of Life Studies - ISQOLS

Code of Ethics


June 14, 2007


The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies? (ISQOLS?) Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct (hereinafter referred to as the Ethics Code) consists of an Introduction, a Preamble, five General Principles (A - E), and specific Ethical Standards. The Introduction discusses the intent, organization, procedural considerations, and scope of application of the Ethics Code. The Preamble and General Principles are aspirational goals to guide ISQOLS members toward the highest ideals of scientific research. Although the Preamble and General Principles are not themselves enforceable rules, they should be considered by ISQOLS members in arriving at an ethical course of action. The Ethical Standards set forth enforceable rules for conduct as ISQOLS members. Most of the Ethical Standards are written broadly, in order to apply to ISQOLS members in varied roles, although the application of an Ethical Standard may vary depending on the context. The Ethical Standards are not exhaustive. The fact that a given conduct is not specifically addressed by an Ethical Standard does not mean that it is necessarily either ethical or unethical.

Membership in the ISQOLS commits members to comply with the standards of the ISQOLS Ethics Code and to the rules and procedures used to enforce them. Compliance is required whether the member is engaged in independent research, research with other ISQOLS members and/or other QOL researchers not members of ISQOLS. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an Ethical Standard is not itself a defense to a charge of unethical conduct.

ISQOLS may impose sanctions on its members for violations of the standards of the Ethics Code, including termination of ISQOLS membership, and may notify other bodies and individuals of its actions.

The Ethics Code is intended to provide guidance for ISQOLS members and standards of professional conduct that can be applied by the ISQOLS and by other bodies that choose to adopt them. The Ethics Code is not intended to be a basis of civil liability. Whether an ISQOLS member has violated the Ethics Code standards does not by itself determine whether that member is legally liable in a court action, whether a contract is enforceable, or whether other legal consequences occur.

The modifiers used in some of the standards of this Ethics Code (e.g., reasonably, appropriate, potentially) are included in the standards when they would (1) allow professional judgment on the part of ISQOLS members, (2) eliminate injustice or inequality that would occur without the modifier, (3) ensure applicability across the broad range of activities conducted by ISQOLS members, or (4) guard against a set of rigid rules that might be quickly outdated. As used in this Ethics Code, the term reasonable means the prevailing professional judgment of ISQOLS members engaged in similar activities in similar circumstances, given the knowledge ISQOLS member had or should have had at the time.

In the process of making decisions regarding their professional behavior, ISQOLS members must consider this Ethics Code in addition to applicable laws and the policies and regulations of their own organizations (educational, government, or other research agencies). In applying the Ethics Code to their professional work, ISQOLS members may consider other materials and guidelines that have been adopted or endorsed by scientific and professional organizations and the dictates of their own conscience, as well as consult with others within the field. If this Ethics Code establishes a higher standard of conduct than is required by law, ISQOLS members must meet the higher ethical standard. If ISQOLS members' ethical responsibilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, they make known their commitment to this Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict in a responsible manner. If the conflict is unresolvable via such means, ISQOLS members may adhere to the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing authority in keeping with basic principles of human rights.



ISQOLS members are committed to increasing scientific and professional knowledge of the field of QOL studies to improve the condition of individuals, organizations, and society. ISQOLS members respect and protect civil and human rights and the central importance of freedom of inquiry and expression in research, teaching, and publication. They strive to help the public in developing informed judgments and choices concerning issues related to QOL. In doing so, they perform many roles, such as researcher, educator, consultant, administrator, social interventionist, and expert witness. This Ethics Code provides a common set of principles and standards upon which ISQOLS members build their professional and scientific work.

This Ethics Code is intended to provide specific standards to cover most situations encountered by ISQOLS members. It has as its goals the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom ISQOLS members work.

The development of a dynamic set of ethical standards for ISQOLS members' work-related conduct requires a personal commitment and lifelong effort to act ethically; to encourage ethical behavior by students, supervisees, employees, and colleagues; and to consult with others concerning ethical problems.



This section consists of General Principles. General Principles, as opposed to Ethical Standards, are aspirational in nature. Their intent is to guide and inspire ISQOLS members toward the very highest ethical ideals of the profession. General Principles, in contrast to Ethical Standards, do not represent obligations and should not form the basis for imposing sanctions. Relying upon General Principles for either of these reasons distorts both their meaning and purpose.

Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence
ISQOLS members strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm. In their professional actions, ISQOLS members seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally and other affected persons (including the welfare of animal subjects of research, if applicable). When conflicts occur among ISQOLS members' obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve these conflicts in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm. Because ISQOLS members' scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence. ISQOLS members strive to be aware of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work.

Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility
ISQOLS members establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work. They are aware of their professional and scientific responsibilities to society and to the specific communities in which they work. ISQOLS members uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior, and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm. ISQOLS members consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best interests of those with whom they work. They are concerned about the ethical compliance of their colleagues' scientific and professional conduct. ISQOLS members strive to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no compensation or personal advantage.

Principle C: Integrity
ISQOLS members seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of QOL research. In these activities ISQOLS members do not steal, cheat, or engage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation of fact. ISQOLS members strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments. In situations in which deception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, ISQOLS members have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the use of such techniques.

Principle D: Justice
ISQOLS members recognize that fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to and benefit from the contributions of QOL research and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by ISQOLS members. ISQOLS members exercise reasonable judgment and take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices.

Principle E: Respect for People's Rights and Dignity
ISQOLS members respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. ISQOLS members are aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making. ISQOLS members are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. ISQOLS members try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.



1 Resolving Ethical Issues

  • 1.01 Misuse of reasonable steps to correct or minimize the misuse or misrepresentation.
  • 1.02 Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority
    If ISQOLS members' ethical responsibilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, ISQOLS members make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict. If the conflict is unresolvable via such means, ISQOLS members may adhere to the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal authority.
  • 1.03 Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands
    If the demands of an organization with which ISQOLS members are affiliated or for whom they are working conflict with this Ethics Code, ISQOLS members clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and to the extent feasible, resolve the conflict in a way that permits adherence to the Ethics Code.
  • 1.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations
    When ISQOLS members believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another ISQOLS member, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual, if an informal resolution appears appropriate and the intervention does not violate any confidentiality rights that may be involved. (See also Standards 1.02. Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority, and 1.03. Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demand.)
  • 1.05 Reporting Ethical Violations
    If an apparent ethical violation has substantially harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person or organization and is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 1.04. Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations, or is not resolved properly in that fashion, ISQOLS members take further action appropriate to the situation. Such action might include referral to state or national committees on professional ethics, to state licensing boards, or to the appropriate institutional authorities. This standard does not apply when an intervention would violate confidentiality rights or when ISQOLS members have been retained to review the work of another ISQOLS member whose professional conduct is in question. (See also Standard 1.02. Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority)
  • 1.06 Cooperating With Ethics Committees
    ISQOLS members cooperate in ethics investigations, proceedings, and resulting requirements of the ISQOLS. In doing so, they address any confidentiality issues. Failure to cooperate is itself an ethics violation. However, making a request for deferment of adjudication of an ethics complaint pending the outcome of litigation does not alone constitute non-cooperation.
  • 1.07 Improper Complaints
    ISQOLS members do not file or encourage the filing of ethics complaints that are made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation.
  • 1.08 Unfair Discrimination Against Complainants and Respondents
    ISQOLS members do not deny persons employment, advancement, admissions to academic or other programs, tenure, or promotion, based solely upon their having made or their being the subject of an ethics complaint. This does not preclude taking action based upon the outcome of such proceedings or considering other appropriate information.


2 Competence

  • 2.01 Boundaries of Competence
    (a) ISQOLS members provide services, teach, and conduct research with populations and in areas only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study, or professional experience.
    (b) Where scientific or professional knowledge in the field of QOL studies establishes that an understanding of factors associated with age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status is essential for effective implementation of their research, ISQOLS members have or obtain the training, experience, consultation, or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their research, or they make appropriate referrals.
    (c) ISQOLS members planning to teach or conduct research involving populations, areas, techniques, or technologies new to them undertake relevant education, training, supervised experience, consultation, or study.
    (d) In areas in which generally recognized standards for preparatory training do not yet exist, ISQOLS members nevertheless take reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients, and others from harm.
  • 2.02 Maintaining Competence
    ISQOLS members undertake ongoing efforts to develop and maintain their competence.
  • 2.03 Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments
    ISQOLS members' work is based upon established scientific and professional knowledge of the field of study. (See also Standards 2.01d. Boundaries of Competence.)
  • 2.04 Delegation of Work to Others
    ISQOLS members who delegate work to employees, supervisees, or research or teaching assistants or who use the services of others, such as interpreters, take reasonable steps to (1) avoid delegating such work to persons who have a multiple relationship with those being served that would likely lead to exploitation or loss of objectivity; (2) authorize only those responsibilities that such persons can be expected to perform competently on the basis of their education, training, or experience, either independently or with the level of supervision being provided; and (3) see that such persons perform these services competently. (See also Standards 3.05. Multiple Relationships; 4.01. Maintaining Confidentiality.)
  • 2.05 Personal Problems and Conflicts
    (a) ISQOLS members refrain from initiating an activity when they know or should know that there is a substantial likelihood that their personal problems will prevent them from performing their work-related activities in a competent manner.
    (b) When ISQOLS members become aware of personal problems that may interfere with their performing work-related duties adequately, they take appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance, and determine whether they should limit, suspend, or terminate their work-related duties.


3 Human Relations

  • 3.01 Unfair Discrimination
    In their work-related activities, ISQOLS members do not engage in unfair discrimination based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or any basis proscribed by law.
  • 3.02 Sexual Harassment
    ISQOLS members do not engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature, that occurs in connection with the member?s professional activities, and that either (1) is unwelcome, is offensive, or creates a hostile workplace or educational environment, and the member knows or is told this or (2) is sufficiently severe or intense to be abusive to a reasonable person in the context. Sexual harassment can consist of a single intense or severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts. (See also Standard 1.08. Unfair Discrimination Against Complainants and Respondents.)
  • 3.03 Other Harassment
    ISQOLS members do not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in their work based on factors such as those persons' age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status.
  • 3.04 Avoiding Harm
    ISQOLS members take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients, and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable.
  • 3.05 Multiple Relationships
    (a) A multiple relationship occurs when a ISQOLS member is in a professional role with a person and (1) at the same time is in another role with the same person, (2) at the same time is in a relationship with a person closely associated with or related to the person with whom the member has the professional relationship, or (3) promises to enter into another relationship in the future with the person or a person closely associated with or related to the person.
    (b) An ISQOLS member refrains from entering into a multiple relationship if the multiple relationship could reasonably be expected to impair the member's objectivity, competence, or effectiveness in performing his or her professional functions, or otherwise risks exploitation or harm to the person with whom the professional relationship exists.
    (c) Multiple relationships that would not reasonably be expected to cause impairment or risk exploitation or harm are not unethical.
    (d) If an ISQOLS member finds that, due to unforeseen factors, a potentially harmful multiple relationship has arisen, the member takes reasonable steps to resolve it with due regard for the best interests of the affected person and maximal compliance with the Ethics Code.
    (e) When ISQOLS members are required by law, institutional policy, or extraordinary circumstances to serve in more than one role in judicial or administrative proceedings, at the outset they clarify role expectations and the extent of confidentiality and thereafter as changes occur. (See also Standards 3.04. Avoiding Harm)
  • 3.06 Conflict of Interest
    ISQOLS members refrain from taking on a professional role when personal, scientific, professional, legal, financial, or other interests or relationships could reasonably be expected to (1) impair their objectivity, competence, or effectiveness in performing their professional functions or (2) expose the person or organization with whom the professional relationship exists to harm or exploitation.
  • 3.07 Exploitative Relationships
    ISQOLS members do not exploit persons over whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or other authority such as students, supervisees, research participants, and employees. (See also Standards 3.05. Multiple Relationships; 6.03. Fees and Financial Arrangements; 604. Barter With Research Clients; 7.06. Sexual Relationships With Students and Supervisees.)
  • 3.08 Informed Consent
    (a) When ISQOLS members conduct research on other humans, they obtain the informed consent of the participant using language that is reasonably understandable to that person except when conducting such activities without consent is mandated by law or governmental regulation or as otherwise provided in this Ethics Code. (See also Standards 8.02. Informed Consent to Research.)
    (b) For people who are legally incapable of giving informed consent, ISQOLS members nevertheless (1) provide an appropriate explanation, (2) seek the participant?s assent, (3) consider the participant?s preferences and best interests, and (4) obtain appropriate permission from a legally authorized person, if such substitute consent is permitted or required by law. When consent by a legally authorized person is not permitted or required by law, ISQOLS members take reasonable steps to protect the participant?s rights and welfare.
    (c) ISQOLS members appropriately document written or oral consent, permission, and assent. (See also Standards 8.02. Informed Consent to Research.)


4 Privacy and Confidentiality

  • 4.01 Maintaining Confidentiality
    ISQOLS members have a primary obligation and take reasonable precautions to protect confidential information obtained through or stored in any medium, recognizing that the extent and limits of confidentiality may be regulated by law or established by institutional rules or professional or scientific relationship. (See also Standard 2.04. Delegation of Work to Others.)
  • 4.02 Discussing the Limits of Confidentiality
    ISQOLS members discuss with research participants (including, to the extent feasible, persons who are legally incapable of giving informed consent and their legal representatives) and organizations with whom they establish a scientific or professional relationship (1) the relevant limits of confidentiality and (2) the foreseeable uses of the information generated through their research activities. (See also Standard 3.10. Informed Consent.)
  • 4.03 Consultations
    When consulting with colleagues, (1) ISQOLS members do not disclose confidential information that reasonably could lead to the identification of a research participant unless they have obtained the prior consent of that participant or the disclosure cannot be avoided, and (2) they disclose information only to the extent necessary to achieve the purposes of the consultation. (See also Standard 4.01. Maintaining Confidentiality.)
  • 4.04 Use of Confidential Information for Didactic or Other Purposes
    ISQOLS members do not disclose in their writings, lectures, or other public media, confidential, personally identifiable information concerning their students, research participants, organizational clients, or other recipients of their services that they obtained during the course of their work, unless (1) they take reasonable steps to disguise the person or organization, (2) the person or organization has consented in writing, or (3) there is legal authorization for doing so.


5 Advertising and Other Public Statements

  • 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements
    (a) Public statements include but are not limited to paid or unpaid advertising, product endorsements, grant applications, licensing applications, other credentialing applications, brochures, printed matter, directory listings, personal resumes or curricula vitae, or comments for use in media such as print or electronic transmission, statements in legal proceedings, lectures and public oral presentations, and published materials. ISQOLS members do not knowingly make public statements that are false, deceptive, or fraudulent concerning their research or other work activities or those of persons or organizations with which they are affiliated.
    (b) ISQOLS members do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning (1) their training, experience, or competence; (2) their academic degrees; (3) their credentials; (4) their institutional or association affiliations; (5) their services; (6) the scientific basis for, or results or degree of success of, their services; (7) their fees; or (8) their publications or research findings.
    (c) ISQOLS members claim degrees as credentials for their research services only if those degrees were earned from an accredited educational institution.
  • 5.02 Statements by Others
    (a) ISQOLS members who engage others to create or place public statements that promote their professional practice, products, or activities retain professional responsibility for such statements.
    (b) ISQOLS members do not compensate employees of press, radio, television, or other communication media in return for publicity in a news item. (See also Standard 1.01. Misuse of ISQOLS members? Work.)
    (c) A paid advertisement relating to ISQOLS members' activities must be identified or clearly recognizable as such.
  • 5.03 Descriptions of Workshops and Non-Degree-Granting Educational Programs
    To the degree to which they exercise control, ISQOLS members responsible for announcements, catalogs, brochures, or advertisements describing workshops, seminars, or other non-degree-granting educational programs ensure that they accurately describe the audience for which the program is intended, the educational objectives, the presenters, and the fees involved.
  • 5.04 Media Presentations
    When ISQOLS members provide public advice or comment via print, Internet, or other electronic transmission, they take precautions to ensure that statements (1) are based on their professional knowledge, training, or experience in accord with appropriate QOL scientific literature; and (2) are otherwise consistent with this Ethics Code. (See also Standard 2.03. Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments.)


6 Record Keeping and Fees

  • 6.01 Documentation of Professional and Scientific Work and Maintenance of Records
    ISQOLS members create, and to the extent the records are under their control, maintain, disseminate, store, retain, and dispose of records and data relating to their professional and scientific work in order to (1) facilitate provision of services later by them or by other professionals, (2) allow for replication of research design and analyses, (3) meet institutional requirements, (4) ensure accuracy of billing and payments, and (5) ensure compliance with law. (See also Standard 4.01. Maintaining Confidentiality.)
  • 6.02 Maintenance, Dissemination, and Disposal of Confidential Records of Professional and Scientific Work
    (a) ISQOLS members maintain confidentiality in creating, storing, accessing, transferring, and disposing of records under their control, whether these are written, automated, or in any other medium. (See also Standards 4.01. Maintaining Confidentiality, and 6.01. Documentation of Professional and Scientific Work and Maintenance of Records.)
    (b) If confidential information concerning human subjects is entered into databases or systems of records available to persons whose access has not been consented to by the recipient, ISQOLS members use coding or other techniques to avoid the inclusion of personal identifiers.
    (c) ISQOLS members make plans in advance to facilitate the appropriate transfer and to protect the confidentiality of records and data in the event of members' withdrawal from positions or practice.
  • 6.03 Fees and Financial Arrangements
    (a) As early as is feasible in a professional or scientific relationship, ISQOLS members and recipients of research services reach an agreement specifying compensation and billing arrangements.
    (b) ISQOLS members' fee practices are consistent with law.
    (c) ISQOLS members do not misrepresent their fees.
    (d) If limitations to research services can be anticipated because of limitations in financing, this is discussed with the recipient of services as early as is feasible.
    (e) If the recipient of research services does not pay for services as agreed, and if ISQOLS members intend to use collection agencies or legal measures to collect the fees, ISQOLS members first inform the person that such measures will be taken and provide that person an opportunity to make prompt payment.
  • 6.04 Barter With Research Clients
    Barter is the acceptance of goods, services, or other non-monetary remuneration from research clients in return for research services. ISQOLS members may barter only if the resulting arrangement is not exploitative. (See also Standards 3.05. Multiple Relationships, and 6.03. Fees and Financial Arrangements.)
  • 6.05 Accuracy in Reports to Payers and Funding Sources
    In their reports to payers for research services or sources of research funding, ISQOLS members take reasonable steps to ensure the accurate reporting of the nature of the research conducted, the fees, charges, or payments, and where applicable, the identity of the provider and the research findings. (See also Standards 4.01. Maintaining Confidentiality.)


7 Education and Training

  • 7.01 Design of Education and Training Programs
    ISQOLS members responsible for education and training programs take reasonable steps to ensure that the programs are designed to provide the appropriate knowledge and proper experiences, and to meet the requirements for certification or other goals for which claims are made by the program. (See also Standard 5.03. Descriptions of Workshops and Non-Degree Granting Educational programs.)
  • Descriptions of Education and Training Programs
    ISQOLS members responsible for education and training programs take reasonable steps to ensure that there is a current and accurate description of the program content, training goals and objectives, stipends and benefits, and requirements that must be met for satisfactory completion of the program. This information must be made readily available to all interested parties.
  • 7.02 Accuracy in Teaching
    (a) ISQOLS members take reasonable steps to ensure that course syllabi are accurate regarding the subject matter to be covered, bases for evaluating progress, and the nature of course experiences. This standard does not preclude an instructor from modifying course content or requirements when the instructor considers it pedagogically necessary or desirable, so long as students are made aware of these modifications in a manner that enables them to fulfill course requirements. (See also Standard 5.01. Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements.)
    (b) When engaged in teaching or training, ISQOLS members present research information accurately. (See also Standard 2.02. Maintaining Competence.)
  • 7.03 Student Disclosure of Personal Information
    ISQOLS members do not require students or supervisees to disclose personal information in course- or program-related activities, either orally or in writing, regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, spouses or significant others, and other personal and sensitive information.
  • 7.04 Assessing Student and Supervisee Performance
    (a) In academic and supervisory relationships, ISQOLS members establish a timely and specific process for providing feedback to students and supervisees. Information regarding the process is provided to the student at the beginning of supervision.
    (b) ISQOLS members evaluate students and supervisees on the basis of their actual performance on relevant and established program requirements.
  • 7.05 Sexual Relationships With Students and Supervisees
    ISQOLS members do not engage in sexual relationships with students or supervisees who are in their department, agency, or training center or over whom ISQOLS members have or are likely to have evaluative authority. (See also Standard 3.05. Multiple Relationships.)


8 Research and Publication

  • 8.01 Institutional Approval
    When institutional approval is required, ISQOLS members provide accurate information about their research proposals and obtain approval prior to conducting the research. They conduct the research in accordance with the approved research protocol.
  • 8.02 Informed Consent to Research
    (a) When obtaining informed consent as required in Standard 3.08. Informed Consent, ISQOLS members inform participants about (1) the purpose of the research, expected duration, and procedures; (2) their right to decline to participate and to withdraw from the research once participation has begun; (3) the foreseeable consequences of declining or withdrawing; (4) reasonably foreseeable factors that may be expected to influence their willingness to participate such as potential risks, discomfort, or adverse effects; (5) any prospective research benefits; (6) limits of confidentiality; (7) incentives for participation; and (8) whom to contact for questions about the research and research participants' rights. They provide opportunity for the prospective participants to ask questions and receive answers. (See also Standards 8.03. Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research; 8.05. Dispensing with Informed Consent for Research; and 8.07. Deception in Research.)
    (b) ISQOLS members conducting intervention research involving the use of experimental treatments clarify to participants at the outset of the research (1) the experimental nature of the treatment; (2) the services that will or will not be available to the control group(s) if appropriate; (3) the means by which assignment to treatment and control groups will be made; (4) available treatment alternatives if an individual does not wish to participate in the research or wishes to withdraw once a study has begun; and (5) compensation for or monetary costs of participating including, if appropriate, whether reimbursement from the participant or a third-party payer will be sought. (See also Standard 8.02a. Informed Consent to Research.)
  • 8.03 Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research
    ISQOLS members obtain informed consent from research participants prior to recording their voices or images for data collection unless (1) the research consists solely of naturalistic observations in public places, and it is not anticipated that the recording will be used in a manner that could cause personal identification or harm, or (2) the research design includes deception, and consent for the use of the recording is obtained during debriefing. (See also Standard 8.07. Deception in Research.)
  • 8.04 Student and Subordinate Research Participants
    (a) When ISQOLS members conduct research with students or subordinates as participants, ISQOLS members take steps to protect the prospective participants from adverse consequences of declining or withdrawing from participation.
    (b) When research participation is a course requirement or an opportunity for extra credit, the prospective participant is given the choice of equitable alternative activities.
  • 8.05 Dispensing With Informed Consent for Research
    ISQOLS members may dispense with informed consent only (1) where research would not reasonably be assumed to create distress or harm and involves (a) the study of normal educational practices, curricula, or classroom management methods conducted in educational settings; (b) only anonymous questionnaires, naturalistic observations, or archival research for which disclosure of responses would not place participants at risk of criminal or civil liability or damage their financial standing, employability, or reputation, and confidentiality is protected; or (c) the study of factors related to job or organization effectiveness conducted in organizational settings for which there is no risk to participants' employability, and confidentiality is protected or (2) where otherwise permitted by law or federal or institutional regulations.
  • 8.06 Offering Inducements for Research Participation
    ISQOLS members make reasonable efforts to avoid offering excessive or inappropriate financial or other inducements for research participation when such inducements are likely to coerce participation.
  • 8.07 Deception in Research
    (a) ISQOLS members do not conduct a study involving deception unless they have determined that the use of deceptive techniques is justified by the study's significant prospective scientific, educational, or applied value and that effective non-deceptive alternative procedures are not feasible.
    (b) ISQOLS members do not deceive prospective participants about research that is reasonably expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional distress.
    (c) ISQOLS members explain any deception that is an integral feature of the design and conduct of an experiment to participants as early as is feasible, preferably at the conclusion of their participation, but no later than at the conclusion of the data collection, and permit participants to withdraw their data. (See also Standard 8.08. Debriefing.)
  • 8.08 Debriefing
    (a) ISQOLS members provide a prompt opportunity for participants to obtain appropriate information about the nature, results, and conclusions of the research, and they take reasonable steps to correct any misconceptions that participants may have of which the ISQOLS members are aware.
    (b) If scientific or humane values justify delaying or withholding this information, ISQOLS members take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of harm.
    (c) When ISQOLS members become aware that research procedures have harmed a participant, they take reasonable steps to minimize the harm.
  • 8.09 Humane Care and Use of Animals in Research
    (a) ISQOLS members acquire, care for, use, and dispose of animals in compliance with current federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and with professional standards.
    (b) ISQOLS members trained in research methods and experienced in the care of laboratory animals supervise all procedures involving animals and are responsible for ensuring appropriate consideration of their comfort, health, and humane treatment.
    (c) ISQOLS members ensure that all individuals under their supervision who are using animals have received instruction in research methods and in the care, maintenance, and handling of the species being used, to the extent appropriate to their role. (See also Standard 2.04. Delegation of Work to Others.)
    (d) ISQOLS members make reasonable efforts to minimize the discomfort, infection, illness, and pain of animal subjects.
    (e) ISQOLS members use a procedure subjecting animals to pain, stress, or privation only when an alternative procedure is unavailable and the goal is justified by its prospective scientific, educational, or applied value.
    (f) ISQOLS members perform surgical procedures under appropriate anesthesia and follow techniques to avoid infection and minimize pain during and after surgery.
    (g) When it is appropriate that an animal's life be terminated, ISQOLS members proceed rapidly, with an effort to minimize pain and in accordance with accepted procedures.
  • 8.10 Reporting Research Results
    (a) ISQOLS members do not fabricate data. (See also Standard 5.01a. Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements.)
    (b) If ISQOLS members discover significant errors in their published data, they take reasonable steps to correct such errors in a correction, retraction, erratum, or other appropriate publication means.
  • 8.11 Plagiarism
    ISQOLS members do not present portions of another's work or data as their own, even if the other work or data source is cited.
  • 8.12 Publication Credit
    (a) ISQOLS members take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they have actually performed or to which they have substantially contributed. (See also Standard 8.12b. Publication Credit.)
    (b) Principal authorship and other publication credits accurately reflect the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their relative status. Mere possession of an institutional position, such as department chair, does not justify authorship credit. Minor contributions to the research or to the writing for publications are acknowledged appropriately, such as in footnotes or in an introductory statement.
    (c) Except under exceptional circumstances, a student is listed as principal author on any multiple-authored article that is substantially based on the student's doctoral dissertation. Faculty advisors discuss publication credit with students as early as feasible and throughout the research and publication process as appropriate. (See also Standard 8.12b. Publication Credit.)
  • 8.13 Duplicate Publication of Data
    ISQOLS members do not publish, as original data, data that have been previously published. This does not preclude republishing data when they are accompanied by proper acknowledgment.
  • 8.14 Sharing Research Data for Verification
    (a) After research results are published, ISQOLS members do not withhold the data on which their conclusions are based from other competent professionals who seek to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis and who intend to use such data only for that purpose, provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and unless legal rights concerning proprietary data preclude their release. This does not preclude ISQOLS members from requiring that such individuals or groups be responsible for costs associated with the provision of such information.
    (b) ISQOLS members who request data from other ISQOLS members to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis may use shared data only for the declared purpose. Such ISQOLS members obtain prior written agreement for all other uses of the data.
  • 8.15 Reviewers
    ISQOLS members who review material submitted for presentation, publication, grant, or research proposal review respect the confidentiality of and the proprietary rights in such information of those who submitted it.


March 11, 2007: The first draft of the ISQOLS Ethics Code was created by adapting and modifying the 2002 version of the American Psychological Association?s Code of Ethics (http://www.apa.org/ethics) to fit the needs of ISQOLS. The first three drafts were reviewed (March 11-26, 2007) by ISQOLS Code of Ethics Committee: Robert Cummins, Filomena Maggino, Alex Michalos, Joe Sirgy, and Dave Webb.

ISQOLS would like to express its appreciation and gratitude to the American Psychological Association (APA) for granting permission to ISQOLS for adapting and modifying APA?s code for ISQOLS? purposes. Copyright permission was granted on June 14, 2007.

While the American Psychological Association has given permission to the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) to utilize the APA Code of Ethics, APA has in no way provided endorsement for this use, or advised, assisted, or encouraged the ISQOLS to utilize the APA Code of Ethics. APA is in no way responsible for the decision of ISQOLS to utilize the APA Code of Ethics, or for any actions or other consequences resulting from such use by the ISQOLS.