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One of the foundations of research ethics is the idea of informed consent. Simply put, informed consent means that participants should understand that a they are taking part in research and b what the research requires of them.
Such information may include the purpose of the research, the methods being used, the possible outcomes of the research, as well as associated demands, discomforts, inconveniences and risks that the participants may face.
Whilst is it not possible to know exactly what information a potential participant would or would not want to know, you should aim not to leave out any material information ; that is, information that you feel would influence whether consent would or would not be granted.
Another component of informed consent is the principle that participants should be volunteers , taking part without having been coerced and deceived. Where informed consent cannot be obtained from participants, you must explain why this is the case.
You should also be aware that there are instances informed consent is not necessarily needed or needs to be relaxed. These include certain educational , organisational and naturalistic research settings. We discuss these in more detail under the section: Protecting the anonymity and confidentiality of research participants is another practical component of research ethics.
After all, participants will typically only be willing to volunteer information, especially information of a private or sensitive nature, if the researcher agrees to hold such information in confidence. Whilst it is possible that research participants may be hurt in some way if the data collection methods used are somehow insensitive , there is perhaps a greater danger that harm can be caused once data has been collected.
This occurs when data is not treated confidentially, whether in terms of the storage of data, its analysis, or during the publication process i. However, this does not mean that all data collected from research participants needs to be kept confidential or anonymous. It may be possible to disclose the identity and views of individuals at various stages of the research process from data collection through to publication of your dissertation. Nonetheless, permissions should be sought before such confidential information is disclosed.
An alternative is to remove identifiers e. However, such a stripping of identifiable information may not always be possible to anticipate at the outset of your dissertation when thinking about issues of research ethics. This is not only a consideration for dissertations following a qualitative research design , but also a quantitative research design [for more information, see the article: Research strategy and research ethics ].
Imagine that your dissertation used a quantitative research design and a survey as your main research method. In the process of analysing your data, it is possible that when examining relationships between variables i. For instance, imagine that you were comparing responses amongst employees within an organisation based on specific age groups. There may only be a small group or just one employee within a particular age group e.
Therefore, you need to consider ways of overcoming such problems, such as: A further alternative is to seek permission for access to data and analysis to be restricted to the published material, perhaps only allowing it to be viewed by those individuals marking your work.
If the work is later published, adjustments would then need to be made to protect the confidentiality of participants. There are also a wide range of potential legal protections that may affect what research you can and cannot perform, how you must treated the data of research participants, and so forth.
In other words, you don? Since this varies from country-to-country, you should ask your dissertation supervisor or Ethics Committee for advice or a legal professional.
At first sight, deceptive practices fly in the face of informed consent. After all, how can participants know a that they are taking part in research and b what the research requires of them if they are being deceived?
This is part of what makes the use of deceptive practices controversial. For this reason, in most circumstances, dissertation research should avoid any kinds of deceptive practices. However, this is not always the case. Deception is sometimes a necessary component of covert research , which can be justified in some cases. Cases where you may choose to engage in covert research may include instances where:.
It is not feasible to let everyone in a particular research setting know what you are doing. Overt observation or knowledge of the purpose of the research may alter the particular phenomenon that is being studied. By feasibility , we are not talking about the cost of doing research.
Instead, we mean that it is not practically possible to let everyone in a particular research setting know what you are doing. This is most likely to be the case where research involves observation , rather than direct contact with participants, especially in a public or online setting. There are a number of obvious instances where this may be the case:. Clearly, in these cases, where individuals are coming and going, it may simply be impossible to let everyone known what you are doing.
You may not be intentionally trying to engage in deceptive practices , but clearly participants are not giving you their informed consent. Where observations or a participants? Therefore, when you think about whether to engage in covert research and possibly deceptive practices , you should think about the extent to which this could be beneficial in your dissertation, not research in general; that is, everything from the research paradigm that guides your dissertation through to the data analysis techniques you choose affect issues of research ethics in your dissertation [see the article: Imagine some of the following scenarios where covert research may be considered justifiable:.
You are conducting a piece of research looking at prejudice. Whilst participants are given a questionnaire to complete that measures their prejudice, it is not obvious from the questions that this is the case. Furthermore, participants are not told that the research is about prejudice because it is felt that this could alter their responses.
After all, few people would be happy if other people thought they were prejudice.
A major contribution to the methodology literature, Principles of Research Methodology: A Guide for Clinical Investigators is an authoritative resource for all individuals who perform research, plan to perform it, or wish to understand it better.
A major contribution to the methodology literature, Principles of Research Methodology: A Guide for Clinical Investigators is an authoritative resource for all individuals who perform research, plan to perform it, or wish to understand it better.5/5(2).
Principles of Methodology: Research Design in Social Science and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) names the principles governing acceptable human research: social and clinical value, scientific validity, fair subject selection, favorable risk-benefit ratio, independent review, informed consent, .
Principles of Research Methodology: A Guide for Clinical Investigators is the definitive, comprehensive guide to understanding and performing clinical research. Designed for medical students, physicians, basic scientists involved in translational research, and other health professionals, this indispensable reference also addresses the unique. Research design is the plan that provides the logical structure that guides the investigator to address research problems and answer research questions. It is one of the most important components of research methodology.