Ethics issues may arise in the dissemination, public engagement and exploitation of findings. The Research Councils expect researchers to engage actively with the public at a local and national level and appropriately publish results widely. Impact activities and dissemination may therefore be ongoing throughout the research lifecycle (including these later stages) and members of research ethics committees should have the necessary skills and expertise to ask critical questions when assessing a proposal's impact and dissemination plans. Any negative events likely to arise from these activities should be referred to the research ethics committee.
The possible impact on research participants, their families and associates, organisations, and populations from which the sample is drawn needs to be thought through - particularly where anonymity may be jeopardised or where there is potential for stigmatisation of individuals or groups, or misuse or misrepresentations of research findings (eg to further political agendas).
Descriptions of participants (eg in case studies) should not normally lead to those who take part becoming identifiable. This can be particularly challenging if sample sizes are small or participants have distinctive characteristics that may make them recognisable. However, researchers need to respect the rights and dignity of participants, for example where participants may wish to have their views expressed and their identities given.