General Principles

IVSA Code of Research Ethics and Guidelines | Published: December 2009

The following General Principles are aspirational and serve as a guide for ethical courses of action.

  • Principle A: Professional Competence
  • Principle B: Integrity
  • Principle C: Professional and Scientific Responsibility
  • Principle D: Respect for People’s Rights, Dignity, and Diversity
  • Principle E: Social Responsibility

Principle A: Professional Competence

Visual researchers strive to maintain the highest levels of competence in their work; they recognize the limitations of their expertise; and they utilize the appropriate scientific, professional, technical, and administrative resources needed to ensure competence in their professional activities. They consult with other professionals when necessary for the benefit of their research participants as well as students and clients. Principle B: Integrity Visual researchers are honest, fair, and respectful of others in their professional activities and do not knowingly act in ways that jeopardize either their own or others’ professional welfare. They conduct their affairs in ways that inspire trust and confidence; they do not knowingly make statements that are false, misleading, or deceptive.

Principle C: Professional and Scientific Responsibility

Visual researchers adhere to the highest professional standards and accept responsibility for their work. Members of IVSA understand that they form a community and show respect for others even when they disagree on theoretical, methodological, or personal approaches to visual research, which also places value on the public trust in research activity, demarcating it from other potentially disreputable visual practices. The professional and public trust rests on the ethical behavior of people doing ethical visual research. IVSA is vigilant to separate ethical visual practices from those that intentionally violate that trust. For this IVSA represents a shared responsibility for ethical research.

Principle D: Respect for People’s Rights, Dignity, and Diversity

Visual researchers respect the rights, dignity, and worth of all people. They strive to eliminate bias in their professional activities, and they do not tolerate forms of discrimination based on age; gender; race; ethnicity; national origin; religion; sexual orientation; disability; health conditions; or marital, domestic, or parental status. They are sensitive to cultural, individual, and role differences in studying groups of people with distinctive characteristics. Universal human rights are respected, with sensitivity to the ever present conflictive contexts of modern social life. The visual representations of people should reflect this regard for rights, dignity and diversity.

Principle E: Social Responsibility

Visual researchers are aware of their professional responsibility to the communities and societies in which they live and work. They apply and make public their knowledge in order to contribute to the public good. When undertaking research, they strive to advance the field of visual studies and to serve the public good.