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Interviewing prisoners for a science fair project

Postby fen1506 » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:33 pm

Intel ISEF: Are student researchers permitted to interview prisoners?

Hi. Just to give you a background: I recently entered grade eight, and we are studying in our research subject the framework and guidelines of ISEF and the general research process. Currently, I am working on an assignment about the design of a research project. Our teacher advised us to choose a topic that interests us because this assignment is practically preparing us for the succeeding years in which we shall submit our own research proposal for the science fair.
I am personally interested in behavioral and social sciences, so I'm thinking about doing a research on criminal psychology. Furthermore, I am planning on interviewing some prisoners for my future study. The problem is, I don't know if this procedure is permissible in ISEF. I am fairly new to the system, and although I have already reviewed the guidelines on human participants, there seem to be nothing that covers this matter.

Thanks to anyone that will reply. I just need an answer so that I can finally decide if I can really propose this kind of research.

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Re: Interviewing prisoners for a science fair project

Postby alyssaSTEMg » Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:09 am


I assume you've already read through this if you were looking for the guidelines, but this link is to the 2021 fair project rules
for human participants directly from ISEF.


It allows human participants (which includes interviews), but you have to make sure the prisoners give consent and are fully knowledgeable towards your goal. Also know in real life your project will go through phases of approval from different ethics organizations. (For example there is a form on that link you should go through called the risk assessment guide which must be reviewed before you even start your interviews) but as long as you are within the limits of the law your project should be acceptable.

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