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Ethical and Legal Considerations in Quantitative Research Essay (Critical Writing)


Introduction

In quantitative research, much attention should be paid to addressing ethical and legal norms and rules. According to Wiles and Boddy (2013), research ethics can “encourage researchers not only to improve levels of ‘ethical literacy’ in the research community but more fundamentally, to reflect deeply on their research project and process from the perspective of all the possible stakeholders” (p. 1). As a result, the rights and interests of all individuals involved in the study can be discussed as protected if ethical and legal norms are followed. The purpose of this paper is to present the quantitative research question and discuss ethical and legal issues related to quantitative methodology.

Overview of the Quantitative Question

The following research question was developed for the quantitative study: Is there a relationship between the amount of time which students from grades 6-7 spend playing computer and video games and their achievement at school? The independent variable in this study is the amount of time that students can spend while playing computer and video games.

The time is measured in minutes per week. The dependent variable is the students’ achievement that should be measured in weekly tests’ scores (from 0 to 100). Tests should cover the materials related to Language, Mathematics, and Science. The proposed research question is appropriate to be used in the study the aim of which is to find out how the students’ interest in playing computer and video games can predict their achievement at school.

The IRB Process

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee that is responsible for controlling the research process in educational and other types of organizations. The IRB process means filling in the specific form and receiving the approval to conduct the planned study (Metro, 2014).

The IRB form includes the following information to mention: a purpose of the research, dates, a description of the process and procedures, a note regarding the voluntary participation in a study, principles of selecting participants for a study, a note on ethical issues and confidentiality, and a description of the withdrawal procedure (Metro, 2014). This information should be provided to the Institutional Review Board to guarantee that human participants’ rights and interests will be protected and non-violated concerning the proposed study.

Ethical Considerations

The involvement of children in a quantitative study is associated with a range of ethical issues. Therefore, researchers can start conducting a study only when informed consent forms are signed, and the permissions of parents are received (Tangen, 2014). For this study, the permission of parents and their involvement in the research process are critical because they help report the actual time spent on playing video and computer games (Wouters, Van Nimwegen, Van Oostendorp, & Van Der Spek, 2013; Yang, 2012).

Thus, it is expected that the participation of students and their families is voluntary even though a random sampling technique can be used to determine the sample for the study (Smith, 2016). Also, it is important to guarantee that the test results of students and the private data are not shared publicly. Much attention should be paid to the issue of confidentiality to protect participants’ rights.

Legal issues associated with involving children in the proposed quantitative study are the following ones: the necessity of collecting the data with the help of parents as guardians; the necessity of protecting students’ anonymity; the impossibility to provide the plagiarized data; and the impossibility to make up data to address the purpose of the study (Doyle & Buckley, 2014; Smith, 2016). If the listed principles are ignored, it is possible to speak about the violation of legal norms associated with conducting quantitative research. Therefore, much attention should be paid to organizing quantitative research in the sphere of education.

Ethics in Data Collection and Reporting Results

The data related to quantitative studies should be effectively collected and reported. The sample size selected for the study should be appropriate to guarantee the ethical generalization of results. All the data necessary for the study should be collected concerning the guardians’ permission (Roberts & Allen, 2015). The gathered information needs to be protected with the help of passwords if the digital data are collected for the study.

When all the required data are stored appropriately to guarantee the confidentiality and privacy of participants, it is necessary to select the relevant statistical test to analyze the information (Tangen, 2014). Reporting results are the next stage at which researchers are expected to avoid presenting the made-up data or discussing only significant and positive results (Smith, 2016). In quantitative research, there are risks that hypotheses formulated with the focus on the research question cannot be supported concerning study results. The ethical behavior at this stage means reporting all findings and limitations associated with the study.

Conclusion

To conduct quantitative research, educators need to pay much attention to ethical and legal issues. It is important to guarantee that the participation of respondents is voluntary and that they understand their rights related to the study. Therefore, researchers should focus on protecting the interests of children when they conduct quantitative studies in the educational area. In this context, the focus should be on the researcher’s cooperation with parents to protect children’s interests.

References

Doyle, E., & Buckley, P. (2014). Research ethics in teaching and learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51(2), 153-163.

Metro, R. (2014). From the form to the face to face: IRBs, ethnographic researchers, and human subjects translate consent. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 45(2), 167-184.

Roberts, L. D., & Allen, P. J. (2015). Exploring ethical issues associated with using online surveys in educational research. Educational Research and Evaluation, 21(2), 95-108.

Smith, J. (2016). Reflections on teaching research ethics in education for international postgraduate students in the UK. Teaching in Higher Education, 21(1), 94-105.

Tangen, R. (2014). Balancing ethics and quality in educational research – the ethical matrix method. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 58(6), 678-694.

Wiles, R., & Boddy, J. (2013). Introduction to the special issue: Research ethics in challenging contexts. Methodological Innovations Online, 8(2), 1-5.

Wouters, P., Van Nimwegen, C., Van Oostendorp, H., & Van Der Spek, E. D. (2013). A meta-analysis of the cognitive and motivational effects of serious games. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 249.

Yang, Y. T. (2012). Building virtual cities, inspiring intelligent citizens: Digital games for developing students’ problem solving and learning motivation. Computers & Education, 59(2), 365-377.

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IvyPanda. "Ethical and Legal Considerations in Quantitative Research." August 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethical-and-legal-considerations-in-quantitative-research/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Ethical and Legal Considerations in Quantitative Research." August 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethical-and-legal-considerations-in-quantitative-research/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Ethical and Legal Considerations in Quantitative Research'. 2 August.

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