deontology |ˌdēänˈtäləjē| noun Philosophy the study of the nature of duty and obligation.
beneficent |bəˈnefəsənt| adjective (of a person) generous or doing good. • resulting in good : a beneficent democracy. malefic |məˈlefik| adjective poetic/literary causing or capable of causing harm or destruction, esp. by supernatural means.
STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER• Informed consent, access and acceptance• The field of ethics and sources of tension• Voices of experience• Ethical dilemmas• Privacy, anonymity and confidentiality• Against privacy, confidentiality and anonymity• Ethics in electronic research• Betrayal and deception• Ethics and evaluative research• Research and regulation: ethical codes and review boards• Sponsored research• Responsibilities to the research community
FOUR LAYERS OF ETHICAL DECISIONS (Seedhouse, 1998)• External (e.g. codes of practice, laws);• Consequential (consequences for individuals, groups, society);• Deontological (what is one’s duty to do);• Individual (respect for individual freedom and autonomy).
ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS• Virtue ethics – Pursue what is good simply because it is good and right.• Situational ethics – What we should do or what is right to do depends on the situation in question
THE COSTS-BENEFITS RATIO Do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages?• Social benefits of research endeavours against the personal costs to the individuals taking part.• Failure to do the research may cost society the advantages of the opportunity to improve the human condition.• Costs to participants may include affronts to dignity, embarrassment, loss of trust in social relations, loss of autonomy and self-determination, and lowered self-esteem.• Benefits to participants may be the satisfaction in making a contribution to science and a greater personal understanding of the area under scrutiny.
INFORMED CONSENT1. Explain the study, its purposes, contents, benefits, any dangers or discomforts (and long-term effects).2. Explain what is involved of the participant.3. Explain rights, protections and liabilities.4. Explain rights to voluntary non-participation/partial participation/withdrawal.5. Rights and obligations of confidentiality, anonymity, non- traceability.6. Answer any questions about the study and the procedures.7. Obtain informed consent (including, where relevant, permission from parents/guardians and other appropriate parties), where appropriate, in writing. Justify not obtaining informed consent (e.g. for covert research).
DECEPTION1. Telling a lie2. Telling only part of the truth3. Not telling the whole storyIs deception justified, in the interests of:• Public good• Preventing biasing the respondents• Enabling natural behaviour to be observed• Protecting confidentiality of a third party
ACCESS AND ACCEPTANCE• Access requires formal and informal permission and clearance from relevant parties.• Achieving goodwill and cooperation.• Sensitive entry to the research location.• Be prepared for negotiation of what can/cannot be done.• Seek informed consent.• Give all participants the chance to remain anonymous.• Ensure that all data are given in strict confidentiality.• Seek respondent validation.• Be prepared to give participants a copy of the final report.• Permission for publication may need to be gained from the participants.• Where possible, the research report should be of benefit to the school and participants.
THE FIELD OF ETHICS• Respect dignity and rights of participants.• Attend to the sensitivity of the research.• Control and ownership of the data (e.g. during and after the research has ended).• Publication rights and duties.
A MAJOR ETHICAL TENSIONPUBLIC’S INDIVIDUAL’S RIGHT RIGHTTO KNOW TO PRIVACY FREESCIENTIFIC NON- ENQUIRY MALEFICENCE& CAREER ANDADVANCE- BENEFICENCE MENT
AVOID DOING HARM• Use computer simulations.• Find a situation in which the negative effects of harm already exist, i.e. where the research does not have the responsibility for having produced these conditions.• Apply only a very low level of potential harm, or for only a short period of time, so that any effects are minimal.• Informed consent (provide details of the potential negative effects and secure participants’ consent).• Justify the research on the grounds that the limited harm caused is much less than the harm caused by the existing situation (which the research is trying to improve).• Use samples rather than complete populations, so that fewer people are exposed to the harm.• Maintain the privacy of participants through the use of aggregated or anonymized data.
ETHICAL DILEMMAS• Involving people without their knowledge or consent.• Coercing people to participate.• Withholding information about the true nature of the research, or otherwise deceiving participants.• Inducing people to commit acts diminishing their self-esteem.• Violating rights of self-determination (e.g. in studies seeking to promote individual change).• Exposing participants to physical or mental stress.• Invading their privacy.• Withholding benefits from some participants (e.g. in comparison groups).• Not treating participants fairly, or with consideration, or with respect.• Breaching trust.
PRIVACY• Privacy trumps other concerns in research.• Privacy of people and settings.• Privacy is a basic human need.• The greater the sensitivity of the information, the more safeguards are needed to protect the privacy of participants.• Privacy can be voluntarily relinquished by informed consent.
ANONYMITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY• Participants, groups, institutions, locations should be non-traceable unless there is a good reasons for this not to happen.• Some individuals, groups, institutions will want to be identified; respect this.• It should not be possible to reconstruct or reassemble data in order to identify people, groups, institutions, locations, or, where it is possible, it will not be put into the public domain.• Researches can take steps to guarantee that they, too, do not know who respondents are (e.g. double blind experiments, anonymous questionnaires).
ANONYMITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY• Ensure in advance that promises of anonymity and confidentiality can actually be kept.• Ensure that participants understand anonymity, non-traceability and confidentiality.• Justify covert research.• Justify dishonesty/telling lies to ensure non- traceability (e.g. ‘putting people off the scent’ of participants).• How can ‘thick descriptions’ avoid identifying participants/groups/institutions/locations?
Protect Protect safety Protect confiden- well-being tiality RESPONSIBILITY Protect Protect TO RESEARCHanonymity reputations COLLEAGUES Keep to Ethical agreed Do not procedures behaviour jeopardize future research
Researcher competence Integrity of Rigour research Report RESPONSIBILITY Reportaccurately TO RESEARCH clearly Honesty Don’t Fairness jeopardize future research