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Research methodology  ethical issues in research   an assignment
 

Research methodology ethical issues in research an assignment

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    Research methodology  ethical issues in research   an assignment Research methodology ethical issues in research an assignment Document Transcript

    • IDENTIFY AND EXPLAIN ANY 6 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN RESEARCH. DISCUSS THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLATING RESEARCH ETHICSIntroductionEthics refers to moral principles or values that generally govern the conduct of an individual orgroup. Researchers have responsibilities to their profession, clients, and respondents, andmust adhere to high ethical standards to ensure that both the function and the information arenot brought into disrepute. The Marketing Research Association, Inc. (Chicago, Illinois) hasinstituted a code of ethics that serves as a guideline for marketing ethical decisions. TheCouncil of American Survey Research Organization (CASRO) has also established a detailedcode of marketing research ethics to which its members adhere.In recent years ethical considerations across the research community have come to theforefront. This is partly a result greater awareness of human rights and data protection andalso a result of increased public concern about the limits of any inquiry. There has also beenenhanced concern for responsible behaviour within the workplace Many large organisationsare expressing a desire for higher ethical standards in any research project and in the waybusiness is done. This increased concern for accountability in these spheres has led to a highdemand for good ethics where it comes to any research as well as access to and themanagement of information. This current reconsideration of research ethics matches acontemporary mood in both the public and private sector and is helping to enhanceresponsible behaviour.Definition of Terms: Research?Research 1
    • This is the systematic process of collecting and analysing information to increase ourunderstanding of the phenomenon under study. It is the function of the researcher to contributeto the understanding of the phenomenon and to communicate that understanding to others.(Pearson: 1995-2010 Prentice Hall)http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_leedy_practical_8/0,9599,1569572-,00.htmlEthicsEthics are the principles and guidelines that help us to determine and uphold what is morallyjustifiableBackgroundEthics in ResearchWriters differ widely on ethical issues in research. They often disagree on what is and is notethically acceptable in social research. Debates about research ethics emphasized certainextreme cases of alleged ethical transgression, while in fact the potential for unethicalresearch is much larger. Some cases of unethical research are often associated with particularresearch methods, such as disguised observation and deception in experiments. Obviously,ethical issues can be raised throughout all phases of research, notably problem definition,stating research objectives/ hypotheses, literature review, choice of research design,questionnaire design, data collection procedures, data editing and cleaning, choice ofstatistical methods, data analysis, conclusions and recommendations, and even referencing.Ethics apply at every stage of the research. Upholding of ethics is particularly important inresearch as the research industry is mainly dependent on the following; 2
    •  Goodwill- This is the goodwill of the individual respondents for their willingness to volunteer personal information on their awareness, attitudes and behaviours  Trust- Decision makers trust researchers to provide accurate information  professionalism and confidentialityThis paper discusses the importance of ethics in research, ethical considerations researchersmust observe and the consequences of violating them. Research must be conducted in a safeand ethical manner.This paper discusses six ethical considerations in research and the consequences of violatingthem. The author feels that when carrying out research it is extremely important that theresearch is conducted in a safe and ethical manner. Researchers must ensure that the rightsof the research subjects are not violated in any way. All researchers have good intentions, but if they are not careful, their studies can place individuals in situations that involve risk" (Gall: 1996). Data collection, and analysis, subject selection, research procedure, credibility of the researcher and the worth of the study are all ethical issues that those wishing to perform a study face. Often researchers are the victims of poor planning or inexperience and their subjects suffer for it. " ( David B. Resnik)The ethical considerations I am going to examine are as follows:1. Informed ConsentA researcher should have the permission of the people who they are studying to conductresearch involving them. When carrying out a research, one should be sure they are not taking 3
    • advantage of easy-to-access groups of people (such as children at a day-care) simplybecause they are easy to access.Sound ethical conduct suggests that it is the duty of researchers to preserve and protect theprivacy, dignity, well-being and freedom of research participants. This means explaining topotential participants the purpose and nature of the research so they can freely choosewhether or not to become involved. Such explanations include warning of possible harm andproviding explicit opportunities to refuse to participate and to terminate at any time.Where the research involves students and minors, permission should be obtained from theparents and guardians. The students and minors shall not be allowed to participate unlesstheir parents or guardians have been counselled with respect to their participation.. Parents orguardians shall have the right to withdraw their children from the research Project at any time.Not all types of research require permission or informed consent however—for example, if oneis interested in analysing something that is available publicly (such as in the case ofcommercials, public message boards, etc.) you do not necessarily need the permission of theauthors2. Invasion of Privacy and confidentialityIn the case of marketing research, many consumers feel positively about it and believe that itserves a useful purpose. Some actually enjoy being interviewed and giving their opinions.However, others strongly resent or even mistrust marketing research. A few consumers fearthat researchers might use sophisticated techniques to probe their deepest feelings and thenuse this knowledge to manipulate their buying. Or they worry that marketers are building hugedata bases full of personal information about customers. 4
    • Other respondents may have been taken in by previous research surveys that actually turnedout to be attempts to sell them something. Still other consumers confuse legitimate marketingresearch studies with telemarketing efforts and say ‗no‘ before the interviewer can even begin.Most, however simply resent the intrusion into their private opinions and perceptions. Theydislike mail or telephone surveys that are too long or too personal or that interrupt them atinconvenient times. Increasing customer resentment has become a major problem for theresearch industry.Any business that deals with respondents‘ information has to take privacy issues seriously.Some researchers view privacy as way to gain competitive advantage as something that leadsconsumers to choose one company over another. The best approach is for researchers to askonly for the information they need, to use it responsibly to provide value, and to avoid sharinginformation without customers‘ permission.Many types of research, such as surveys or observations, should be conducted under theassumption that you will keep your findings anonymous. Many interviews, however, are notdone under the condition of anonymity. A researcher must let the subjects know whether theresearch results will be anonymous or not.The researcher must agree not to reveal the identity of the participant to anyone other thanthe researcher and his staff who have access to the data.Respondents are more willing to express their views and opinions if they know that theinformation is going to be used in a confidential manner (i.e. the participation will not result inthe respondent becoming subject to sales calls, political lobbying or fund raising The identity ofindividuals from whom information is obtained in the course of the research project shall bekept strictly confidential. At the conclusion of the project, any information that reveals theidentity of individuals who were subjects of research shall be destroyed unless the individual 5
    • concerned has consented in writing to its inclusion beforehand. No information revealing theidentity of any individual shall be included in the final report or in any other communicationprepared in the course of the Project, unless the individual concerned has consented in writingto its inclusion beforehand.3. DeceptionDeception happens when the researcher provides misleading or withholding information fromparticipants about the project. Deception is allowable when the benefits outweigh the costs.This occurs when researchers present their research as something other than what it is.Deception should be minimized and when necessary, the degree and effects must bemitigated as much as possible. Researchers should carefully weigh the gains achieved againstthe cost in human dignity. To the extent that concealment or deception is necessary, theresearcher must provide a full and accurate explanation to participants at the conclusion of thestudy, including counselling, if appropriate. An example is when a researcher pretends to bewho they are not in order to study a certain class of people.This method can also result in a serious invasion of privacy and the researcher obtainsinformation they would probably never have known. An example was given during the lecturesof a prominent academic who disguised herself as a maid in order to study housewives andmaids‘ behaviours. This position gave her access to the couple‘s private lives which she wouldhave never known had she used direct questions. When the deception method is used,debriefing becomes a must at the conclusion of the project. Debriefing is a post study interviewin which all aspects of the research are revealed. Any reasons for deception are explained andany questions are answered. 6
    • 4. Protection from HarmYou don‘t want to do anything that would cause physical or emotional harm to your subjects.This could be something as simple as being careful how sensitive or difficult questions areworded during the interviews. The researcher should take the responsibility to protect thesubjects from whatever harm which might befall them e.g. physical discomfort, emotionalstress, humiliation, embarrassment or any other situation that puts the participant at adisadvantage. There should be no harm to participants‘ career prospects, development or self-esteem.5 Data ProtectionRoutine collection and storing of electronic data and use of data mining techniques has raisednew concerns about confidentiality of information. The information may be used for differentpurposes than what it was collected for. Personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully.The data must be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes and not furtherprocessed in any manner incompatible with the original purpose. Personal data must beadequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they areprocessed. The data must be accurate and where necessary, be kept up to date and must notbe kept longer than necessary. Data must not fall into the wrong hands as this will be a breachof confidentiality. The researcher must put in place measures to ensure data is protected fromunauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss or destruction of or, damage.Results must not be falsified. When reporting at the end of the research the correct resultsmust be accurately presented. What was observed or what the researcher was told must bereported in an honest and accurate manner. Interview responses must not be taken out ofcontext and not discussed in small parts of observations without putting them into theappropriate context. 7
    • 6. Affiliation and conflicts of InterestsEthical implications arise when research is finally underwritten by a source that has a vestedinterest in the results. This does not mean that it is automatically biased; rather it may beperceived to be biased and hence may be discredited. Research studies can be powerfulpersuasion tools; companies often use study results as claims in their advertising andpromotion. Today, however, many research studies appear to be little more than vehicles forpromoting the sponsor‘s products. In fact, in some cases, the research surveys appear to havebeen designed just to produce the desired results. Subtle manipulations of the study‘s sampleor the choice or wording of questions can greatly affect the conclusions reached.In some cases, so-called independent research studies are actually paid for by companies withan interest in their desired outcome. Small changes in the study samples or in how results areinterpreted can subtly affect the direction of the results.Recognizing that surveys can be abused, several associations have developed codes ofresearch ethics and standards of conduct. However, in as much as legislation is put in place,unethical or inappropriate actions cannot be totally eradicated. Each company must acceptresponsibility for policing the conduct and reporting of its own marketing research to protectconsumers‘ best interests and its own.Consequences of Violating EthicsThere are drawbacks to violation of ethics. An example is given of the methodologicalargument against deceptive research which contends that deception increases the suspiciousness of future research subjects, thereby exhausting the pool of naïve participants (Ortmann & Hertwig, 1997). 8
    • This view reflects the concern that as the incidence of deception continues to rise; participants‘growing sophistication about deceptive practices may cause them to behave unnaturally in theresearch. By extension, if the prevalence of deception over the years has decreased naivetéamong prospective participants, this would diminish the methodological value of usingdeception in the first place. Further, even honest investigators might not be trusted byparticipants who view apparent ―openness‖ with suspicion (Resnick & Schwartz, 1973).Suchparticipant expectations could have a counter-productive effect on future research projects andtheir results, and also motivating individuals to behave in ways that do not reflect their naturalbehaviours or compelling them to behave in uncooperative ways in active attempts toundermine the research. (Tessar, 1994).states that In light of research showing that consumers evaluate some unethical practices (such as misrepresentation of interview length or study purpose) as inappropriate, it is feared that they not only will be less likely to participate in future research, but that their research experience will negatively influence their image of the study sponsor, at least in commercial market research contextsIt is further argued that the very practice of violating ethics and of justifying such procedurescan weaken researchers‘ respect for their participants and undermine their own integrity andcommitment to the truth. At the same time, the public‘s confidence in research projects and inthe credibility of those who engage in it is likely to be weakened, thereby jeopardizingcommunity support for future researches. If ethics are violated the respondents feel denigratedand this may create anger and hostility in the participants hence jeopardizing futurecooperation.ConclusionSimply put, ethics in research involves considering what is right or wrong, and then doing theright thing -- but "the right thing" is not nearly as straightforward as conveyed in a great deal of 9
    • business ethics literature. (Many ethicists assert theres always a right thing to do based onmoral principle, and others believe the right thing to do depends on the situation -- ultimatelyits up to the individual.) Many philosophers consider ethics to be the "science of conduct."Twin Cities consultants Doug Wallace and John Pekel (of the Twin Cities-based FulcrumGroup; 651-714-9033; e-mail at jonpekel@atti.com) explain that ethics includes thefundamental ground rules by which we live our lives. The way ethical conduct is perceiveddiffers among individuals. What becomes an ethical guideline today is often translated to alaw, regulation or rule tomorrow. Ethical consideration in research therefore has come to meanvarious things to various people, but generally its coming to know what it right or wrong in theworkplace and doing whats right -- this is in regard to effects of products/services and inrelationships with stakeholders.Attention to research ethics is critical. Values that were previously taken for granted are nowstrongly questioned. Many of these values are no longer followed. Consequently, there is noclear moral compass to guide researchers through complex dilemmas about what is right orwrong. Attention to ethics in research sensitizes participants on to how they should act.Perhaps most important, attention to ethics in research helps ensure that when researchersare struggling in times of crises and confusion, they retain a strong moral compass which isnecessary to maintain the participants‘ faith in future researches 10
    • BibliographyAlemaheyu Dekeba: (2001-2011) Basic Marketing Research Methods: Globus publishing, BerlinCarter McNamara: Complete Guide to Ethics Management: An Ethics Toolkit for Managers: http://managementhelp.org/ethics/Internationally Indexed Journal Vol–II, Issue -3 March 2011; www.scholarshub.netAllan Wilson: Ethics in Marketing; An integrated approach: 2006 2nd Edition Prentice HallAlan Byman and Emma Bell: Business Research Methods: 2007 2nd Edition Oxford University PressSocial Research Association: Ethical guidelines: 2003(Pearson: 1995-2010 Prentice Hall)-http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_leedy_practical_8/0,9599,1569572-,00.html 11