While conducting research, one of the essential things that need to be acknowledged is research ethics. Before explaining research ethics and what they involve, let’s look at the meaning of the word “ethic” as explained by Mariam-Webster dictionary:
- the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
- a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values
- the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group
- a guiding philosophy
- a consciousness of moral importance
Professor Peter Singer defines it as:
Ethics, also called moral philosophy, the discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad and morally right and wrong. The term is also applied to any system or theory of moral values or principles.
Research ethics are written or unwritten moral rules, codes, and guidelines that help get valid, real research results. Considering researchers work with a significant amount of data and a lot of individuals, and the results are sometimes a matter of life and death, it is needless to say that researchers should follow research ethic rules.
Here are some ethical principles in research:
Honesty and integrity
As mentioned above, anyone working with any amount of data with the aim of providing that information to others should be honest in gathering and reporting the data. This can especially have a more significant impact on an issue if that issue demands analyzing a larger amount of data. Additionally, research may involve more than one researcher, which means they shouldn’t hide any information from each other. Giving false information, misdirecting people ignores research ethics. Being sincere with colleagues, participants, and the general population is key for successful research.
In addition to honesty, objectivity is also one of the main pillars of research ethics. Researchers should not add any biased data into the mix. It can change the course of the research, and research may have a completely different outcome.
It is of great importance to inform the participants about the aims of the research and ask their permission to use the data provided by them, especially when it involves sensitive topics. This is especially essential for the observation method of data collection methods because researchers may observe the situation without people knowing it beforehand. Therefore, it is best to approach them afterwards and ask for their permission to use the information.
Besides asking for participant consent, it is vital to protect the data provided by them and respect their decisions to remain anonymous. This is especially the case when it comes to interviews. Of course, the interviewees may not go against getting credited by the name in the research report paper, but it is not always the case.
Researchers must approach the data and participants very carefully. They should pay attention to little details that may otherwise have a big impact on the research. All secondary sources of information should be double-checked or cross-referenced to make sure they contain reliable information. After getting the results, researchers should consider comparing them with similar research projects.
Researchers accept various responsibilities when they decide to carry out research. Acting according to those responsibilities makes sure the investigation goes in the right direction.
Being open to criticism
Researchers should accept criticism and use it in their subsequent research projects. It is part of a growing process as a researcher.
Caring about people and nature
Researchers should be extra careful with the research process that may have health risks for people or harm animals and damage nature.
about (of quantities) imprecise but fairly close to correct More (Definitions, Synonyms, Translation)