Skip Nav

Resource Links

❶In such instances, permission may have been granted to carry out your research and participants may be aware what you are doing, but they have not necessarily given you their informed consent.

Research strategy and research ethics


They help to determine the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors on the part of the researcher. Why are ethical considerations so important in research? The integrity, reliability and validity of the research findings rely heavily on adherence to ethical principles. The readers and the public want to be assured that researchers followed the appropriate guidelines for issues such as human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, conflicts of interest, safety, health standards and so on.

The handling of these ethical issues greatly impact the integrity of the research project and can affect whether or not the project receives funding.

Because ethical considerations are so important in research, many professional associations and agencies have adopted codes and policies that outline ethical behavior and guide researchers. These codes address issues such as honesty, objectivity, respect for intellectual property, social responsibility, confidentiality, non-discrimination and many others. These codes and policies provide basic guidelines, but researchers will still be faced with additional issues that are not specifically addressed and this will require decision-making on the part of the researcher in order to avoid misconduct.

The resources on this page address many of those issues and the case studies used in these resources provide excellent examples of these types of issues. Ethical issues are important in all types of research. Regardless of the type of research, the researcher should take into consideration both general research principles and those that are more specific to the type of research. In quantitative research, ethical standards prevent against such things as the fabrication or falsifying of data and therefore, promote the pursuit of knowledge and truth which is the primary goal of research.

To address these considerations, most institutions and organizations have developed an Institutional Review Board IRB. An IRB is a panel of people who help to ensure the safety of human subjects in research and who assist in making sure that human rights are not violated. They review the research methodology in grant proposals to assure that ethical practices are being utilized. The use of an IRB also helps to protect the institution and the researchers against potential legal implications from any behavior that may be deemed unethical.

Examples of some of these issues include voluntary participation and informed consent. These principles are followed to guarantee that all human subjects are choosing to participate of their own free will and that they have been fully informed regarding the procedures of the research project and any potential risks.

Potential participants must be competent to make a decision regarding participation and must be free from any coercion. The consent may be given in a written or oral form depending on the nature of the research. Ethical standards also protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the subjects. Researchers should not share information between participants and should have procedures in place to protect the data and names of participants.

Jaap van Harten, the Executive Publisher of Elsevier, shares insights about research and publishing ethics, data manipulation, plagiarism, publication duplication, and the consequences of scientific misconduct. The Elsevier webpage offers a series of short videos in its Ethics Toolkit that address a variety of issues related to ethics in quantitative research. Following are two videos from that series that highlight key issues in quantitative research: To view more videos in the series, go to Elsevier Ethics Toolkit.

Quantitative Research - The following link provides a discussion of the process of designing quantitative research and the steps necessary to ensure that there will be no ethical violations.

What is an IRB and its Purpose? What is the purpose of an IRB and how does a researcher know when they need to use it? Ethics in Research — The Web Center for Social Research Methods - Some of the key terminology associated with research ethics are described on this site, as well as a brief history of ethical considerations in research.

Each of these research methods is discussed in turn:. By their very nature, surveys and structured interviews have to be designed before the research process starts. In fact, since these two types of research method typically use closed questions where respondents must choose from pre-defined options, most of the potential answers to questions are known in advance.

From an ethical perspective, this makes it easier to get informed consent from respondents because most aspects of the survey and structured interview process are fairly certain. Before you start the survey or structured interview process, you can clearly explain what you will be asking potential respondents, and even show them the entire research instrument i.

This can not only help you achieve informed consent , but also ease the mind of the research participant, minimising the potential for distress, which is an important basic principle of research ethics [see the article: Observation, whether overt or covert , faces additional ethical considerations when compared with the use of surveys and structured interviews.

Covert observation, where participants are unaware that you are conducting research, raises particular ethical issues. However, even when using overt observation, where those individuals being observed know that they are being watched, there are some specific ethical challenges that you need to overcome. Let's look at overt and covert observation in turn:. Most research that uses observation as a research method will be overt in nature; that this, the research participants will be aware that you are observing them and should know what you are observing.

In this sense, it should be possible to obtain informed consent from those individuals that you are observing. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, access to research participants in an observational setting such as an organisation may have been granted by a gatekeeper ; an individual that has the right to grant access e.

In such instances, permission may have been granted to carry out your research and participants may be aware what you are doing, but they have not necessarily given you their informed consent.

In fact, gatekeepers such as senior managers with organisations may have required employees to take part. As such, participants may not have been given the right to withdraw from your research, which is one of the basic principles of research ethics [see the article: Furthermore, even if an individual has been granted the right to withdraw from your research, you will need to think about how can manage this if you are observing a large group interaction e.

Whilst we are not suggesting that you cannot continue with such observation, you would need to have thought about the ways that you can separate the data provided by this individual during the observation when analysing and reporting the data.

Covert observation can be viewed as ethically problematic because it is a form of deceptive practice. Not only are respondents not giving you informed consent , but you may also be keeping the observation covert because you feel that respondents would be otherwise unwilling to take part in your research.

Whilst such covert research and deceptive practices , especially where used intentionally , can be viewed as controversial, it can be argued that they have a place in research. Sometimes it is simply impossible to get informed consent from each participant, especially if you are accessing a group through a gatekeeper or are observing people on the move.

This could jeopardise the protection of data and individuals? Therefore, you will need to provide strong justifications why covert observation is necessary for the success of your dissertation, and why other, less deceptive research methods could not have been used instead.

Compared with structured interviews and surveys , there is potentially greater uncertainty for research participants when taking part in informal and in-depth interviews. There are a couple of broad reasons for this:.

Informal and in-depth interviews cannot be pre-planned in the same way that structured interviews can. Whilst it is possible to know some of the initial questions you may ask research participants at the outset of the interview, the majority of questions asked are likely to arise during the interview process as you learn more about the phenomena you are interested in. This evolutionary characteristic of informal and in-depth interviews makes it more difficult to let potential research participants know what to expect from the interview process.

However, since such interview creep is inevitable, you need to be prepared for it. Nonetheless, it should still be possible to get informed consent provided you: In the case of in-depth interviews, in particular, greater disclosure and self-expression often take place during the interview process.

Since in-depth interviews tend to be more personal in nature, you need to be able to address any ethical concerns that research participants may have.

For example, greater disclosure may require: Irrespective of the research method that you use, you will need to think about what data you will be recording, how that data is to be stored, and whether research participants know how their data will be used. This is an important part of gaining informed consent. Research strategy and research ethics Research ethics is not a one size fits all approach.

The impact of each of these components of research strategy on research ethics is discussed in turn: Research designs and research ethics Research methods and research ethics Sampling strategies and research ethics Data analysis techniques and research ethics. Research designs and research ethics Each type of research design that you can use to guide your dissertation has unique ethical challenges. The impact of each of these types of research design on research ethics is discussed in turn: Quantitative research design Compared with qualitative research designs, the more structured and well-defined characteristics of quantitative research designs allow researchers to plan much of the research process before it starts.

Qualitative research design Qualitative research designs tend to be more evolutionary in nature when compared with quantitative research designs.

Mixed methods research design If you are using a mixed methods research design, you will need to take into account the ethical challenges inherent in quantitative and qualitative research designs.

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Ethical considerations for quantitative research will be examined in this module. Learning Objectives: Describe why adhering to ethical principles is important in research. Explain the specific ethical issues to consider in quantitative research. List the core ethical principles that should guide the researcher’s actions in quantitative research.

Privacy FAQs

Ethical Considerations can be specified as one of the most important parts of the research. Dissertations may even be doomed to failure if this part is missing. According to Bryman and Bell ()[1] the following ten points represent the most important principles related to ethical considerations.

About Our Ads

Ethical Issues in Quantitative Research Soazig Clifton Approvals previously given by NatCen or other Research Ethics Committees. But it’s important for our research to fully represent the population, including vulnerable groups Mental Capacity Act . Results: The major ethical issues in conducting research are: a) Informed consent, b) can critically change previous considerations about choices and actions.1 It is said that ethics is the branch of philosophy which deals with the dynamics of decision making.

Cookie Info

Aug 04,  · Role of researchers in qualitative studies In the case of nurses who perform qualitative research, ethical issues are raised when the nurse-patient relationship in the research area leads to some degree of therapeutic communication for the participants (9). quantitative research methods is gradually being informed by ethical considerations given to statistical example from medicine is Kadane’s Bayesian Methods and Ethics in Clinical Trial Design, which presents a methodology for.