What is Ethical Consideration in Research? (The Complete Guide)

July 7, 2022

ethical considerations in research

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you read or hear someone mention the word ethics? Some of us think of rules that help humanity to distinguish between right and wrong. Some link the term to professional conduct or religious creed such as the Ten Commandments.

When it comes to research, though, we need to think of ethical considerations as being more than just norms of conducts that differentiate between what’s acceptable and what’s not.

In research, ethical consideration is an important principle to which researchers must adhere so as to maintain scientific integrity, uphold research validity, and protect the rights of participants in research study. The principle not only ensures that participants take part in the study voluntarily, but also guarantees they are informed and safe for the research subject.

In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into ethical considerations in research to give you more insight into the topic.

Really our goal here is to help you understand the significance of pursuing information with ethical procedures that don’t pose any kind of threat to the target participants.

Related: How to Write a Research Paper

The Ethical Considerations You Must Make In Research

There are a number of ethical issues that you have to consider before you begin your research design. Check the table below for a summary of these issues:

Ethical IssueExplanation
Result communicationYou not only have to make sure that your work is unique and free from research misconduct, but you also have to represent your results with utmost accuracy.
ConfidentialityYou know the identity of your participants, but you don’t make this information available publicly. You have to make the data anonymous so that it doesn’t have a link to anyone else in the research study.
Informed consentYou need to get a verbal or written consent from the participants before you involve in your research study. It’s their right to know the purpose, usefulness, and risks associated with the study they join.
Potential for harmYou need to guarantee that you can keep physical, social, psychological and any other kind of harm to the participants to the absolute minimum.
Voluntary participationYour participants take part in the study at their own will. They can choose to opt out of the study with or without giving you a notice, and they can do so at any point in time.
AnonymityYou don’t know the identity of the participants because you don’t collect information that can identify them.

It’s important that you observe the above ethical consideration because they help a great deal to ensure the authenticity of your research methods and the correctness and accuracy of the information you get from your participants in relation to your research study. 

Also Read: Can You Put Pictures in Research Paper?

Why Are Ethical Considerations in Research So Important?

Ethical considerations are important in research because they ensure participants take part in a research study voluntarily.

It means that researchers don’t have the right to identify participants forcefully and subject them to pressure to participate in the study. Ethical considerations also ensure that participants are not only educated about the research but also safe for the research subjects.

Here are at least 10 ethical considerations that you must uphold when conducting your research:

  • Researchers should not under any circumstance subject their participants to any kind of harm in any way whatsoever
  • One has to avoid misleading information and keep away from representing primary findings in a biased way
  • Researchers have the mandatory obligation to respect and uphold the dignity of the research participants
  • One must not involve participant in a research study without their full consent prior to the study
  • You need to ensure the full protection of the research participants in your study
  • There should be honesty and transparency in any type of communication in relation to the study in question
  • You have to declare affiliations in all forms. Also, you should be clear about any or all possible conflicts of interest
  • A researcher must avoid any form of deception or exaggeration about the aims and objectives of their research
  • You need to ensure a higher level of confidentiality of the research data
  • As a researcher, it’s your responsibility to ensure the  anonymity of the research participants

It’s important that you observe ethical consideration when conducting your research. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to uphold integrity in scientific research. More often than not, researchers who defy ethics end up with less credible research their methods of data collection are morally questionable.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the meaning of research misconduct?

Research misconduct is a situation where a researcher makes up, manipulates, falsifies, or misrepresents data and results in their research report. In academic writing, research misconduct is a clear form of academic fraud.

Research misconduct isn’t accidental. Researches often commit them intentionally in violation of the ethical considerations. So rather than looking at it as a point of disagreement or a small mistake, institutions treat research misconduct as serious ethical failure that should attract severe consequences.

2. Why do ethical considerations in research matter?

Researchers need to take ethical considerations seriously so as to uphold human rights and dignity, and scientific integrity. Such considerations are also significant because they promote voluntary collaboration between the science community and the society. It’s a means by which those involved in the study can be sure of their safety as they volunteer in the research process.

3. Anonymity vs confidentiality: what’s the difference?

Anonymity and confidentially are important ethical considerations that you need to uphold when doing your research.

  • Anonymity: you don’t know who the participants in your study are. You guarantee the participants that their identity will remain unknown by not collecting personal information such as names, email addresses, photo, and phone numbers.
  • Confidentiality: You know who the participants in the study are, but you’ve removed their identity from your research report.

In the case where you must maintain anonymity or keep the identity of your participants confidential, it’s important to refer to them as groups rather than individual participants.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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