All UK research requires ethical approval by one or more of the following:. Committees review proposals to assess if the potential benefits of the research are justifiable in the light of possible risk of physical or psychological harm.
These committees may request researchers make changes to the study's design or procedure, or in extreme cases deny approval of the study altogether. Some of the more important ethical issues are as follows: Whenever possible investigators should obtain the consent of participants. They also need to know what it is that they are agreeing to.
In other words the psychologist should, so far as is practicable explain what is involved in advance and obtain the informed consent of participants. Before the study begins the researcher must outline to the participants what the research is about, and then ask their consent i. However, it is not always possible to gain informed consent. Where it is impossible for the researcher to ask the actual participants, a similar group of people can be asked how they would feel about taking part.
If they think it would be OK then it can be assumed that the real participants will also find it acceptable. This is known as presumptive consent. After the research is over the participant should be able to discuss the procedure and the findings with the psychologist. They must be given a general idea of what the researcher was investigating and why, and their part in the research should be explained. Participants must be told if they have been deceived and given reasons why. They must be asked if they have any questions and those questions should be answered honestly and as fully as possible.
Debriefing should take place as soon as possible and be as full as possible; experimenters should take reasonable steps to ensure that participants understand debriefing. Researchers must ensure that those taking part in research will not be caused distress. They must be protected from physical and mental harm. This means you must not embarrass, frighten, offend or harm participants. Normally, the risk of harm must be no greater than in ordinary life, i. The researcher must also ensure that if vulnerable groups are to be used elderly, disabled, children, etc.
For example, if studying children, make sure their participation is brief as they get tired easily and have a limited attention span. This is where participants are misled or wrongly informed about the aims of the research. Types of deception include i deliberate misleading, e. The researcher should avoid deceiving participants about the nature of the research unless there is no alternative — and even then this would need to be judged acceptable by an independent expert.
However, there are some types of research that cannot be carried out without at least some element of deception. In reality, no shocks were given and the learners were confederates of Milgram. This is sometimes necessary in order to avoid demand characteristics i. Another common example is when a stooge or confederate of the experimenter is used this was the case in both the experiments carried out by Asch. However, participants must be deceived as little as possible, and any deception must not cause distress.
Researchers can determine whether participants are likely to be distressed when deception is disclosed, by consulting culturally relevant groups. If the participant is likely to object or be distressed once they discover the true nature of the research at debriefing, then the study is unacceptable. 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. Research methods and research ethics The potential ethical issues raised by different research methods not only differ from one type of research method to the next e.
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.
Research, Methodology, and Ethics Avenues to Knowledge and Reasoning The kinds of research questions you will ask will always depend on the theoretical perspective from which you are working.
Research methodology ethical issues in research an assignment 1. IDENTIFY AND EXPLAIN ANY 6 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN RESEARCH. We are going through a time of profound change in our understanding of the ethics of applied social research. From the time immediately after World War II until the early s, there was a gradually developing consensus about the key ethical principles that should underlie the research endeavor.
The important ethics in research that scientists must follow. Examples of problematic experiments and preventing unethical research. This chapter describes ethical issues in social research including discussion of the NASW Code of Ethics, Institutional Review Board (IRB) processes, and requirements for the protection of human subjects. In addition, quantitative research methods; qualitative research methods; mixed-methods research designs; experimental, quasi-experimental, explanatory, exploratory, and descriptive research.