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Introduction to Ethics in Research

Ethics is the practice of displaying discipline that dictates standards of behavior that are required with respect to philosophy, law, theology and sociology or any other field (Cooper 56). An example of the ethical professional is a medical ethicist who is involved in studying ethical recommendations in medicine.  Another definition of ethics is the method of making a decision on the manner in which actions need to be taken, so that difficult problems are analyzed. It involves taking a particular perspective in trying to analyze the problem. For instance, during the analysis of an issue, such as global warming, the analyst may take a number of perspectives, such as economic costs, political stand or ethical considerations. If the researcher is basing his study on economic considerations, the main issues that would be discussed are economic costs or benefits that would come up as a result of implementation of certain principles, whereas environmental ethicist would argue on the basis of ethical considerations that are involved (Berkeley 76).

Generally, there are a number of ethical considerations in many organizations or institutions to suit goals and objectives of those institutions. These principles assist them to coordinate activities they are involved in, so that they can determine whether the public trusts their intentions. A number of ethical conducts are used in fields, such as medicine, law, engineering and education (Berg 45). The purpose of ethics is also to assist in attaining goals of a research, and implement to people involved in the scientific study, as well as any other additional activity in a scholarly field. This paper explains some of ethical issues that need to be considered during research.

Purpose of Studying Ethics in Research

There are a number of reasons that have been proposed to ensure that people conform to ethical obligations during research. One of these reasons is to ensure that research is focused on goals and aims of activities being done, such as prevention of making mistakes, ensuring that truth is obtained or ensuring that attention is focused on achieving goals of the research. For instance, truth of data may be promoted by preventing falsification fabrication or misrepresentation of research information. Furthermore, a number of people are usually involved in research. These people may come from different institutions, having different disciplines and ethical principles to ensure that they cooperate during research, so that objectives, such as trust, respect for one another and accountability are displayed. Some of the ethical requirements in research include guidelines for patenting rights, authorship information sharing principles and privacy of personal information. These rules ensure that intellectual rights of people are protected, while collaboration is promoted. Usually, there is the need by researchers to ensure that their work is not destroyed or stolen by a wrong person. Furthermore, ethical principles ensure that the researcher is responsible for certain actions that may happen to the public. The other importance of ethical principles is where there is a need to develop the public support during research. This ensures that research is trusted by financiers, and makes them willing to fund research. A number of research principles are discussed in this paper.

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Literature Review of Ethics in Research

Due to the significance of research ethics during the process of conducting a research, it has been found that many organizations, universities and government institutions have developed specific principles and rules that govern the research ethics. A number of government institutions, such as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), always ensure that researchers they fund are controlled by their rules (Doyle 34).

There are a number of ethical issues that determine whether a research is ethical with respect to contemporary conditions in the social and general research environment to ensure thorough protection of rights of participants during research. One of ethical rules is the principle of voluntary participation. This is an ethical principle which recommends that a person is not required to take part in research. It is mainly applicable when investigators had initially used the method of capturing the audience to get information from them. The other ethical requirement is an informed consent. This ethical requirement demands that respondents who are supposed to take part in research need to be fully informed of the dangers involved in research, and procedures that would be followed by obtaining the data for research. The other requirement of ethical research is that researchers should not always put their clients to situations that may expose them to risks.

All research is also required to ensure that there is a total guarantee of confidentiality of the information that the responded is going to supply. Thus, the researcher is expected to show results of research with anyone who is not concerned with the data. There is also a need to ensure that there is anonymity of the respondent in the entire period of research. This ensures that the privacy of the respondent is guaranteed, despite the difficulty, when the respondent has to be measured in a range of points such, as the pre-test and post-test. Furthermore, researchers have to consider the respondent’s right to service by ensuring that the use of a control group is incorporated, so that in case there is any beneficial effect, people who are assigned to such groups may feel like they have been treated as well as any other group.

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In addition, there are certain ethical principles that need to be implemented during research. One of these principles is the principle of autonomy, where there is a responsibility on the part of the researcher to show respect to the respondent as an individual with the capacity to make useful decisions that has a direct effect during research activities  (Santa 43). The researcher is required to note that the respondent is aware of research conditions, such as risks, benefits and alternatives during the research process.

The other principle is the principle of benefence. In this principle, the researcher needs to be responsible for ensuring that the respondent gets maximum benefits from participation in the study, while ensuring risks are reduced to prevent harmful consequences on the individual.

Research Methodology

A survey was conducted in two organizations to determine components that they considered to make an informed consent. The method of data collection was a questionnaire, in which respondents were asked to list and explain some ethical requirements for an informed consent. Results were collected and analysed. Respondents’ explanations of these principles were recorded, and answers were compared with findings in the literature review.

Findings of the Research and Recommendations

It was found that answers provided by respondents regarding components of a valid consent for a research was similar to those discussed in the literature review. Some of them included the following:

  1. Disclosure:  Respondents reported that participants were supposed to be informed as complete as possible about conditions of techniques used during the study and likely risks and stresses that would appear, if they participated in research. They also explained that a statement needs to be provided, which indicates the level of anonymity and confidentiality of the people who participated in research

  2. The other principle was that of understanding: It was reported that people who participate in the study, need to be informed about what was explained and be given a chance to make enquiries in areas they did not understand, and make the research team answer them.

  3. The other recommendation was that participants had to be competent and able to provide the right consent. Participants which are not competent, such as those who are sick, have mental issues should have surrogate participants on their behalf, if it is necessary for the participant to contribute.

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These recommendations are similar to those in the literature review, and it is recommended that those who need to do their research ethically need to ensure they are adhered to it.


It is regarded an acceptable  practice to look for assistance in areas where no other secondary sources of information can assist. This is the reason why research has been done. However, it has been found that reasonable research cannot be done without considering some ethical issues related to research.

The study indicates that ethical consideration forms an vital component of any meaningful research. It ensures that research follows certain principles that ensure research goals are achieved, according to certain beliefs. It would be an acceptable practice, if anybody interested in doing research ensured that some of ethical issues discussed in this paper were adhered. The result is that users of research findings and research financiers will be able to establish the level of credibility of the study, and believe in what the researcher is saying.

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