Research Ethical Considerations

Ethical considerations in research form an important component of research as far as conduct of researchers is concerned.  This guide briefly explores the following ethical considerations which a researcher should consider when and/or before undertaking a study:

Voluntary participation (Informed consent): The principle of voluntary participation requires that people not be coerced into participating in research. This implies that research should be conducted with one’s informed consent. The participants in research must be informed of what the study is all about so as to make their own judgment on whether to participate or not (Trochim, 2006).

 The principle of anonymity: This principle implies that the participants remain anonymous throughout the study (Punch, 1994). The researcher should ensure that the respondents do not provide their names. They can be addressed according to their designation or they can be assigned labels.

Deception:According to Parton (1990), unethical behaviour would occur if the researcher failed to disclose the real purpose of the research fearing participants’ refusal to participate in the study. In order to avoid the element of deception, the researcher should explain the purpose of the study to the respondents.

 Confidentiality: Since certain information is confidential, researchers can only use confidential information if permission from the relevant research ethics committee is granted. Such committee takes a position based on the value of the research, the adequacy of methods and requires that the researcher gains informed consent from the participants.

 Time Taken:  Any kind of research consumes people’s time. Use of other people’s time can only ever be justified if the data collected yields helpful information.  Poor research drawing on other people’s time is always unethical.

 Conclusion: Applications to ethics committees take time.  Most committees meet quarterly and proposals must be submitted early enough. Further, gaining informed client consent could also be extremely time consuming.  As such, adequate research preparation prior to data collection is required. Otherwise, the only other option is to rely on secondary data.

Example

In this study, the rights of the research participants will be ensured. This will be done based on ensuring that the principles governing research participants are followed. The researcher will ensure that the principle of voluntary participation which requires that people are not coerced into participating in research is followed.  The informed consent of the participants will also be ensured by explaining the aim of the study and the procedures involved. The researcher will also guarantee the participants of the confidentiality. They will be assured that information provided will be used only for academic purpose. Further the principle of anonymity will also be adhered to. The participant will remain anonymous throughout the study.


References

Parton M. (1990). Qualititative Evaluation and Research Method. New Bury Park London: Professional Publishers.

 Punch, M. (1994). Politics and ethics in qualitative research.  In N. Denzin and Y. Lincoln (Eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research,Thousand Oaks: Sage, 83-97.

Trochim, W.M.K. (2006). Research Methods Knowledge Base.Natorp Boulevard Mason: Atomic Dog. Retrieved from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/reltypes.php