Design For Equity: Code of Ethics **

Code of Ethics:

We strive to approach the research with an open mind. We recognize that we, like other humans, are imperfect and will inevitably have innate biases & tendencies. However, it is our mission to employ a transparent, dynamic, and unfiltered research and design process which will approach this work with openness and without judgement. Each interviewee and subject will be treated equally and with respect, regardless of identity, beliefs, and background. The following code of ethics aims to guide us and ensure our R&D process is held to the highest standards of accountability, equality, transparency, and diligence.

We approach with an open mind.

  • Listen openly and attentively.
  • Follow the research & stories, not personal beliefs.
    • Learn about a person & their general background as a means to empathize with their situation. 
  • Be able to correct and shift theories as new data emerges.
    • Consequently, suit theories to facts and not facts to theories. 
    • Provide situational context to help support or disprove claims.
  • Support free & open conversations - even if we disagree.

We work to be transparent, accountable, and accurate.

  • Clearly identify sources and give credit where credit is due. Never plagiarize.
  • Keep sources accessible. If they’re not accessible, explain why.
  • Fact check.
    • Acknowledge mistakes and correct as needed. 
    • Speed is never an excuse for incorrect content.

We recognize that people’s time is a privilege, not a right.  

  • Maintain respect for all individuals, their stories, and their time.
  • We recognize the right to:
    • privacy
    • refusal to answer a question.
    • be upset & express emotion.
    • differing opinions.
    • lived experiences as truths. 
    • request and observance for anonymity. 

We work to elevate voices and be conscious of power dynamics.

  • Let people tell their own stories and experience - do not do it for them.
    • Take caution to not open subjects people don’t want to discuss. 
    • Avoid prompting or suggesting narratives or stories.
      • Allow for pauses, silences, moments for thoughts.
      • Take space & give space; Pitch in when necessary, but leave space & be mindful to allow for others to contribute.
  • Pursue information at the balance of truth and undue intrusiveness. 
    • Consider the ethical implications with information about individual people's right to a fair trial vs the larger narrative.

We work to avoid conflicts of interest. 

  • Disclose any conflicts that arise immediately. 
  • Avoid bribes, free travel, gifts, etc. of any kind that can construe a conflict of interest.
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers or donors.

See also:

Investigative Design Methodology.

The Nitty Gritty Process. 

Code of Ethics is a part of the Design for Equity methodology. We further our work in our code of ethics piece and our more detailed back-end process. We've separated these works to keep everything streamlined and neater, but we've linked them above for you in our commitment to transparency.

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