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Ethical considerations in research methodologies

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1) Evaluate the ethical considerations and access to information that should be observed by researchers (25) Ethics: Dresser (1998) stated that these are societal norms adopted by a group. It is a conception of conduct that is right or wrong. They deal with the fundamental human relationships and are a universal human trait. Ethical guidelines are necessary to clarify the conditions under which psychological research is acceptable. Researchers must recognize the possibility of such legal action if they infringe the rights and dignity of participants in their research.

The essential principle is that the investigative research should be considered from the standpoint of all participants; foreseeable threats to their psychological well-being, health, values or dignity should be eliminated. Ramos (1989) described three types of problems that may affect the ethical nature research studies: being researcher/participant relationship, researcher subjective interpretation of data and that structural design of the research itself.

It should be borne in mind that the best judge of whether an investigation will cause offence may be members of the population from which the participants in the research are to be drawn. Whenever possible, the investigator should inform all participants of the objectives of the investigation to influence willingness to participate. There are a number of issues that come to mind when speaking of the ethical code of conduct for research purposes. They can be broken down to principles that researchers are to stand by when engaging in research project.

The principles therefore can be broken down to: Principle 1- Beneficence: Researchers strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm. In their professional actions, researchers seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally and other affected persons and the welfare of animal subjects of research. When conflicts occur among researchers’ obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve these conflicts in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm.

Because researchers’ scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence. Researchers strive to be aware of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work. Principle 2 – Fidelity and Responsibility: Researchers establish relationships of trust with whom they work with.

They are aware of their professional and scientific responsibilities to society and to the specific communities in which they work. Researchers uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm. Researchers consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best interests of those with whom they work.

They are concerned about the ethical compliance of their colleagues’ scientific and professional conduct. Researchers strive to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no compensation or personal advantage. Principle 3 – Integrity: Researchers seek to promote accuracy, honesty and truthfulness in the science, teaching and practice of psychology. In these activities researchers do not steal, cheat or engage in fraud, subterfuge or intentional misrepresentation of fact. Researchers strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments.

In situations in which deception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, researchers have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the use of such techniques. Principle 4 – Justice: Researchers recognize that fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to and benefit from the contributions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures and services being conducted by researchers.

Researchers exercise reasonable judgment and take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices. Principle 5 – Respect for people’s rights and dignity: Researchers respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. Researchers are aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making.

Researchers are aware of and respect cultural, individual and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language and socioeconomic status and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. Researchers try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.

In conclusion, after examination and consideration of the above said ethical issues and standards to rectify such ethical problems, good researchers should adhere to such principles so as to comply with best practices. These principles cannot ensure ethical research but they can contribute to an understanding that ethical responsibility in research is an ongoing process. Researchers should report the incidents and ethical issues encountered in their studies to ensure discussion, analysis and prevention of future mistakes. References:

American Research Association. (1953). Ethical standards of researchers. Washington, DC. Author: American Researchers Association. (2002). Ethical principles of researchers and code of conduct. American Research Institute, 57, 1060-1073. Ramos, MC (1989). Some ethical implications of research. Research in Nursing and Health, 12, 57-58 Dresser, R (1998). Time for new rules on human subject’s research? Hastings Center Report 28(6), 23-24 Angelica Orb, Laurel Eisenhauer, Dianne Wynaden(2000). Ethics in Qualitative Research, 95

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