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Research Methods in Education 6th Edition

Research Methods in Education 6th Edition

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Chapter5 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. ETHICAL ISSUES IN RESEARCH © LOUIS COHEN, LAWRENCE MANION, KEITH MORRISON
  • 2. 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
  • 3. ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS • A deontological view of ethics – What one has a duty or obligation to undertake. – Treating people as ends in themselves rather than as means • A consequentialist view of ethics – Concern for the outcomes of actions, e.g. the utilitarian view that ethical behaviour is that which produces the greatest good for the greatest number.
  • 4. 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).
  • 5. 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
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. Rights to privacy Overt/covert research Respect vulnerability Informed consent Rights of withdrawal Human dignity/subjects Anonymity/non-traceability/confidentiality Beneficence/ ‘fiduciary trust’ Rights to record dissent Control/ownership of data Permission from all parties Informing participants of who sees the data/report Avoid unnecessary offence Non-maleficence Avoid unnecessary deception Ethical issues concern . . . Access/acceptance
  • 8. HONESTY Honesty is the best policy; but he who is governed by that maxim is not an honest man. Watley. R. (1953) Apophthegms. In The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (2nd ed.). London: Oxford University Press.
  • 9. INFORMED CONSENT 1. 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).
  • 10. DECEPTION 1. Telling a lie 2. Telling only part of the truth 3. Not telling the whole story Is deception justified, in the interests of: • Public good • Preventing biasing the respondents • Enabling natural behaviour to be observed • Protecting confidentiality of a third party
  • 11. INFORMED CONSENT INFORMED CONSENT Selection and de-selection of particular types of research De-selection of less controllable, predictable, dangerous topics, e.g. ‘denied knowledge’/power Selection of ‘safe’, controllable, sponsored, orthodox, standardized, anodyne research
  • 12. SECRECY SECRECY IS A FACT OF LIFE SECRECY RESPECTS PEOPLE SECRECY IS ESSENTIAL TO GAIN ACCESS TO SENSITIVE GROUPS AND SENSITIVE AREAS OF RESEARCH
  • 13. SECRECY FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD ‘Behind the screen of formal ethics, timorous social scientists may excuse themselves from the risk of confronting powerful, privileged, and cohesive groups that wish to obscure their actions and interests from public scrutiny’. Mitchell, R. G. (1993) Secrecy in Fieldwork. London: Sage Publications, p. 54.
  • 14. 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.
  • 15. 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.
  • 16. CONTROL WHO OWNS THE DATA? AT WHAT POINT DOES OWNERSHIP PASS FROM THE RESPONDENT TO THE RESEARCHER? WHAT RIGHTS DOES OWNERSHIP CONFER? WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONDITIONS DOES OWNERSHIP CONFER?
  • 17. INDIVIDUAL’S RIGHT TO PRIVACY A MAJOR ETHICAL TENSION PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO KNOW FREE SCIENTIFIC ENQUIRY & CAREER ADVANCE- MENT NON- MALEFICENCE AND BENEFICENCE
  • 18. AVOID DOING HARM (Primum non nocere) • 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.
  • 19. REMEMBER THE PARTICIPANTS • Data are given, not captured. • Thank the participants. • Ensure that participants do not leave the research more humiliated, insecure, and alienated than when they arrived. • Consider the effects on the participants when writing the report and publishing material. • Ensure that the researchers have sufficient competence to undertake the research.
  • 20. 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.
  • 21. ETHICAL PRINCIPLES IN ACTION RESEARCH (Kemmis and McTaggart) • Observe protocol and permissions. • Involve participants. • Negotiate with those affected. • Report progress. • Obtain explicit authorizations. • Negotiate descriptions of people’s work. • Negotiate accounts of others’ points of view. • Obtain explicit authorization before using quotations. • Negotiate reports for various levels of release. • Accept responsibilitv for maintaining confidentiality. • Retain the right to report your work. • Make your principles of procedure binding and known.
  • 22. 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.
  • 23. ANONYMITY, NON-TRACEABILITY 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).
  • 24. ANONYMITY, NON-TRACEABILITY 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?
  • 25. ETHICS IN ELECTRONIC RESEARCH • Difficulty in confirming authenticity of online participants. • Difficulty in confidentiality and privacy in emails. • Online participants may distort their real situation. • It can take a long time to establish trust online.
  • 26. GUIDELINES FOR ETHICS ONLINE • Do not assume that emails are secure. • Ensure that nobody is harmed by the research. • Enable participants to correspond in private if they wish. • Indicate the steps taken to ensure privacy. • Check where the communication comes from. • Determine the most suitable online method of requesting and receiving informed consent. • The greater is the acknowledged publicity of the venue, the less obligation there may be to protect individual privacy, confidentiality, and rights to informed consent.
  • 27. GUIDELINES FOR ETHICS ONLINE • The greater is the vulnerability of the researcher to the participant, the greater is the obligation of the researcher to protect the participant. • Indicate clearly how material will be used, whether or how it will be attributed, and whether data will be used verbatim, aggregated or summarized. • Work within the framework of legal obligations of data protection and privacy laws. • Indicate who has access to the communication, and whether it is private. • Consider the possible outcomes to individuals if private data are made public.
  • 28. BETRAYAL AND DECEPTION • Betrayal and deception are breaches of trust. How to justify them? • Betrayal may be breaching privacy and cooperation. • Are betrayal and deception for the sake of the public good? • Betrayal may occur if people are portrayed in negative ways. • Deception may happen in telling lies, not telling the whole story, concealing the true purposes of the research from participants.
  • 29. BETRAYAL AND DECEPTION • Handling deception: – Research in the interests of the public good – Exclude particularly vulnerable participants – Keep necessary deception to a minimum – Be sensitive to danger signals – Provide feedback/debriefing at the end of the research – Find new, alternative ways of conducting the research without deception.
  • 30. ETHICS AND EVALUATIVE RESEARCH • Principle of benefit maximization – the best decision is the one that results in the greatest benefit for most people. • Principle of equal respect. – Respect the equal worth of all people. – Treat people as ends rather than means. – Regard them as free and rational. – They are entitled to the same basic rights as others.
  • 31. ETHICS AND EVALUATIVE RESEARCH • Due process • Privacy • Equality • Public perspicuity • Humaneness • Client benefit • Academic freedom • Respect for autonomy
  • 32. RESEARCH AND REGULATION Regulation comes from: • Ethical codes (but they can be unhelpful in specific situations) • Review panels/committees/boards (but they may have no more expertise or legitimacy than the researcher, their remit is unclear, they may disrespect researcher autonomy, and may lead to the avoidance of sensitive research) • Legal requirements • Professional associations
  • 33. SPONSORED RESEARCH It may be considered unethical for the sponsor to tell the researcher: • how to conduct the research; • what results he/she should look for and what findings should be suppressed; • what should and should not be reported; • to conceal who the sponsor is; • what are the purposes of the research.
  • 34. SPONSORED RESEARCH Sponsors do have the right: • to remain confidential; • to non-disclosure of who they are; • to non-disclosure of the purposes and findings of the research. The researcher must retain the right to conduct the study as she or he thinks fit, informed by, but not decided by, the sponsor.
  • 35. Protect confiden- tiality Protect safety RESPONSIBILITY TO RESEARCH COLLEAGUES Protect anonymity Protect reputations Protect well-being Do not jeopardize future research Keep to agreed procedures Ethical behaviour
  • 36. Rigour Researcher competence RESPONSIBILITY TO RESEARCH Report accurately Report clearly Integrity of research Don’t jeopardize future research Honesty Fairness