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The Importance of Research Ethics and Principles

Write Ethics Essay on the National Statment of Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007.

The research which involves human participants raises several unique and complex ethical, legal and social issues. It is important that the research is performed by abiding by certain research ethics and principles to maintain the integrity of the research. It is also important to maintain an ethical approach in determining the research design and while conducting the research (Wiles, 2012).

The research ethics refers to the process wherein the people analyze the ethical issues involved when humans are involved as the participants of the research. There are certain basic principles which can increase the integrity of the research. In the recent years, a large number of legislations have been made which protects the rights of the human participants (Long, T., & Johnson, 2007). In Australia, National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research has been developed which provides the guidelines for ethical in research practices. The National Statement is based on the National Health and Medical Research Council Act and it is updated every five years. According to the guidelines, the human participants should be respected, provide justice and beneficence. The National Statement of the ethical conduct states that the in certain research approaches, wherein the researcher requires human participants, the research ethic should be followed. It includes the research designs of the interview and the survey. The researcher should assure to protect the privacy and the confidentiality of the research participant (NHRMC, 2016). They should also make sure to protect the confidential information provided by the research participants.


In the present case, the research will require the human participants in the survey procedure. Therefore, the researcher needs to examine that consent is obtained from all the research participants. The researcher should also examine the risks and the benefits in the research process and make the research participants aware of the research process. It is also important for the researcher to adopt fair procedures for the selection of the research participants (Israel & Hay, 2006).

In the research processes, there are certain ethical issues. However, the researcher can adopt a number of practices to increase the integrity of the research process. The research ethics revolve around three basic principles of respect for the persons, beneficence and justice. The researcher can adopt variety of methods to abide by these research ethic principles. In this regard, the universities and the educational institutions also take several initiatives (Iltis, 2006). For instance, in most of the countries, an institutional review board is formed which approves, monitors and reviews the abidance to ethical principles in the research. In addition to it, the researcher can also follow other strategies such as consent form, confidentiality and plain language statement. The participants should be provided with a consent form so that they can review and consent to the research process. The main purpose of the consent form is to obtain the permission regarding their involvement with the research process (Loue, 2007). The consent is either obtained from the research participants or from their parents or care giver if their age is below 18 years. The signed consent form should be stored securely by the researcher. Along with the consent form, the research participants should be provided with the information sheet which describes the aim of the research and the nature of the involvement of the research participants. The participants should be aware of their rights and the risks associated with the research. The researcher must be aware of the dignity and the personal privacy of the research participants and respect it (Kruger, Ndebele & Horn, 2014).

The National Statement of Ethical Conduct in Human Research


The researcher should also make aware the research participants that the participation in the research is voluntary and they can withdraw anytime without prejudice or negative consequences.

Confidentiality and privacy of the research participants is also an integral part of the research ethics. The privacy and the confidentiality of the research participants is based on two principles which are respect for individuals and beneficence. According to the respect of the persons, the individuals should be treated as autonomous agents who can exercise their autonomy to the fullest extent. It means that the persons have the right to privacy and right to keep their private information confidential (Cottrell & McKenzie, 2011). Similarly, beneficence is another principal which posits that maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of the research participants assists them in protecting from potential harms such as embarrassment, distress, social harms and criminal or civil liability. The privacy and the confidentiality are different from each other. Privacy refers to the sense of being in control of the access that others have over have to the personal lives of the people. The confidentiality refers to the value associated with the secure treatment of information and assurance that it will not be revealed to others without appropriate permission (Bryman & Bell, 2015).

In order to increase the authenticity of the research, it is important that the researcher form plain language statements for conducting survey. The interview or the survey questionnaire should be formed such that the language is simple and easy to understand. If the questions will not be easy to understand than the research participants will not be able to answer the questions correctly which will degrade the value of the research. The questionnaire will have the questions in the simplest form so that the research participants will be able to answer the questions correctly (Comstock, 2013).

The research ethics refers to the process of the application of the research ethics on variety of subjects. There are several ethical issues in the research design of research involving human or animal experimentation. Moreover, there are certain instances of scientific misconduct which can impact on the integrity of research. It includes fabrication of data, whistleblowing and plagiarism. Several times, the research questions or research proposals also breach the principles of research ethics. The research design and the research questions should be developed so that research ethics should be followed. Several times, the research enquiry needs experimentation on human and animal subjects. The researcher has to be considerate to protect the privacy and the confidentiality of the research subjects. The researcher should also assure that no research practice should result in harm to the research participants. It is also essential that the researcher provides the information as accurately as possible. There should be no manipulation in the research data; moreover, the researcher should also practice to keep the personal viewpoints and bias separate from the research. The academic research is built on the foundation of trust. The researchers trust that the information and results produced by the co-researchers is genuine and sound (Stewart, 2011). The society also believes that the results of the research are presented without bias and with accuracy. However, the transmission of trust can only be achieved if the research community abide by the ethical principles.

Ethical Procedures for Research Projects


In the proposed research proposal, the research questions are aimed to investigate new information with the help of survey. It includes human participants in the research process. Therefore, according to the University guidelines, the researcher should get the approval of the University. In the thesis and research projects, there should be two methods for ethical review. Low risk review and full review of the ethical principles implemented in the research. The low risk projects are ones wherein the research project has low risk of physical, psychological hem or any other potential side effects. In this case, the participants should be provided full informed consent and the right to choose anonymity during the research project. The low risk research methods include online survey. The research proposals involving low risk methods are reviewed by the ethics committee and then sent for full review (Oliver, 2010).

In health care research methods, the researcher has to give special consideration to the research ethics. The researcher should not disclose the personal information, previous disease history and other sensitive information to other people during the research. It is also important that the researcher respects the choice of the research participants. The research process is completely voluntary and every participant has the right to withdraw from it at any time. The researcher should always respect the decision of the research participants.

References

Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2015). Business Research Methods. Oxford University Press.

Comstock, G. (2013). Research Ethics: A Philosophical Guide to the Responsible Conduct of Research. Cambridge University Press.

Cottrell, R., & McKenzie, J.F. (2011). Health Promotion & Education Research Methods: Using the Five Chapter Thesis/ Dissertation Model. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Iltis, A.S. (2006). Research Ethics. London: Routledge.

Israel, M., & Hay, I. (2006). Research Ethics for Social Scientists. Pine Forge Press.

Kruger, M., Ndebele, P., & Horn, L. (2014). Research Ethics in Africa: A Resource for Research Ethics Committees. AFRICAN SUN MeDIA.

Long, T., & Johnson, M. (2007). Research Ethics in the Real World: Issues and Solutions for Health and Social Care. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Loue, S. (2007). Textbook of Research Ethics: Theory and Practice. Springer Science & Business Media.

NHRMC. (2016). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) - Updated May 2015. Retrieved from https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/e72

Oliver, P. (2010). The Student's Guide to Research Ethics. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Stewart, C.N. (2011). Research Ethics for Scientists: A Companion for Students. John Wiley & Sons.

Wiles, R. (2012). What are Qualitative Research Ethics? A&C Black.

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