Four Eyes Principle

Last modified by Jarik den Hartog on 2024/01/25 10:45


When studies involve participants, the FSW employs the four eyes principle. The purpose of the four‐eyes principle is to avoid situations that can provide an opportunity for intimidation, (sexual) assault or abuse while a study is being carried out within the FSW. It also creates a culture of accountability within the FSW between the participants and the staff (lab coordinator, research leader, staff and students). The four eyes principle creates a safe environment within the FSW research facilities for both FSW staff and students, and the participants.

Four eyes principle protocol

In practice, this means that all studies conducted on participants are organized in such a way that the FSW staff member or student may conduct the study with the participant only if they can be seen by another staff member or student of the FSW. No one may conduct a study with participants on their own.

The second staff member or student can intervene or call for help +31 (0)71 527 3701 (4444 in Sylvius) he/she feels that a boundary has been crossed.

Requirements of the four eyes principle

  • Research with participants may only be carried out if the person carrying out the study can be seen by another member of FSW staff or a student;
  • Minors are not eligible for employment intended to comply with the four‐eyes principle (bear this in mind when it comes to students);
  • The second staff member or student may be in the same room as the participant and the researcher, but may also be in an adjacent observation room which has a window into the research space;
  • Camera supervision is also permissible, as long as the camera image is constantly watched and the space where the screen is located is near the research space to allow for rapid intervention;
  • In the case of a study involving minors, the parent can also act as the second adult present, as long as the safety of the staff member or student who is carrying out the study cannot be compromised, and as long as the presence of the parent does not affect the study;
  • If the lab coordinator, research leader, FSW staff members, or students become aware of studies being carried out in which the four eyes principle is not being applied, they can report this to the Academic Director of the institute in question.


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