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Professional Issues of Research Ethics Essay


What is the definition of ethics, and what are the professional issues involved in research ethics?

  1. According to the Oxford Dictionary (2017), ethics is “Moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity” (para. 1). When applied to research, this essentially means that the researchers ensure that their experiment is ethically correct. However, because ethics is relative both globally and in individual cases, the main issue is that ethical regulations should be determined specifically for each study based on its nature and subject.
  2. Ethics is widely defined as “a set of moral principles” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2017, para. 2a). It is a common requirement among the scientific institutions to request that all research follows the necessary ethical regulations, which can sometimes change the initial structure of the study or cause the study to be canceled altogether if it is deemed unethical.
  3. One of the common definitions of ethics is the “norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior” (Resnik, 2015, para. 1). Even though the ethical structure of research promotes its basic aims, such as obtaining knowledge and avoiding error (Resnik, 2015, para. 7), ethical concerns can raise difficulties with the conduction of research in certain circumstances (for instance, medical research of terminally ill patients or those with severe mental illnesses).

Discuss how researchers can ensure that their study is ethical

  1. One of the ways that researchers can ensure that their study is ethical is by tailoring the research structure by the cultural and ethical aspects of the subjects. Nowadays, there is a lot of research studies that are performed in developing countries to reduce issues, such as child mortality, child pregnancy, and so on. One of the ethical concerns that arise in this case is obtaining the subjects’ consent for conduction of the experiment and distribution of the results: due to the linguistic differences, between the languages that the researchers and the participants speak, the researchers must ensure that a valid professional translation is provided to the subjects before obtaining their consent for the experiment. Another way of ensuring the ethical conduct of a cross-cultural experiment in tailoring the proposed intervention or prevention strategy for the local population. For instance, if the researchers decide to study underage pregnancy prevention strategies in rural communities of a developing country, they need to make sure the strategy is available to the people with low income. If the prevention services are provided at a significant cost to the population, most people will not be able to access them, thus creating a bias in the study.
  2. Many institutions funding research and experiments have their norms for the ethical conduct of the studies. For instance, the National Institute of Health (NIH, 2016) guides promoting scientific integrity. The suggested policies and procedures for researchers depend on the type of study. For instance, if testing on animal subjects is required, the number of animals used must be kept to a minimum (NIH, 2016, p. 25). The researchers are to replace animals with alternatives, such as cell lines or computational models whenever possible, and, if animals are still used, to “refine the way experiments are conducted to minimize the pain and suffering of animal subjects” (NIH, 2016, p. 25). Finally, to promote scientific integrity, the biological sex of the animal subjects has to be taken into account.
  3. Research of human subjects is one of the most ethically controversial types of research. To make their study more ethically considerate, the authors should follow the guidance provided by the organization that funds the research, or other government agencies. The typical ethical requirements include obtaining informed consent of the participants, explaining the aim, design, and purpose of the study to the subjects, ensuring that the design of the study does not contradict the subjects’ cultural, linguistic, or background and that any interventions used in the study are justified and will not cause the subjects any discomfort.

Select one study (within the past five years) that you found to be most interesting, and introduce the study briefly. What was the topic of the paper/study? Identify how ethical issues or human subjects are addressed in the paper. Include the reference information of the reading material(s)

  1. Waaland, T. (2016). Educational leadership, autonomy, and mentoring provided: Investigating the moderating influence of educational leadership. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 19(4), 464-481.

This article describes a survey-based study of educational leadership in preschools of Norway. The primary aim of the study was to define if there was an influence of autonomy on mentoring provided and whether on not this influence was in any way moderated by the employee having an educational leadership position. The researcher notes that the study could be used in the future to “further develop preschool institutions where formal positions of educational leadership are held by employees educated as preschool teachers” (Waaland, 2016, p. 465). The article suggests that the authors adequately addressed the ethical requirements of the study: for example, the questions used to survey the participants were approved by three preschool institutions to ensure the validity of the translation and that the questions were unbiased and meaningful to the respondents. Also, a meeting with educational leaders was conducted to inform them of the main aims of the study and the instructions on how to fill the questionnaire. There were, however, some weaknesses in the way the authors addressed the ethical requirements. For instance, the fact that the meeting was conducted with educational leaders and not with every employee surveyed could lead to the results being biased, as the information the educational leaders conveyed to the employees could be distorted. Moreover, the article does not mention the researchers obtaining the subjects’ consent for the use of any information provided by the current study and any further research.

  1. Khan, H. A. (2016). Impact of educational leadership on effective educational management in higher education institutions of Pakistan. Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies, 7(1), 75-84.

This study aimed to explore the relationship between educational leadership and educational management. The research was focused on Pakistani higher education institutions. The researcher approached the professors and lecturers to obtain their professional opinion on the subject using a self-administered survey questionnaire. The article does not mention the procedures and precautions taken by the author of the research to ensure the study’s integrity and moral considerations. Moreover, some of the techniques used in the study could have caused bias, and their use is not justified in the article. For instance, the survey developed by the researcher uses closed-end questions, which might have led to bias if the answer options were too narrow and the subjects were not provided with space to comment on their answers if needed.

  1. Karadag, E., Bektas, F., Cogaltay, N., & Yalcin, M. (2015). The effect of educational leadership on students’ achievement: a meta-analysis study. Asia Pacific Education Review, 16, 79–93.

The present study is a meta-analysis study, which means that the vast majority of the data was obtained using secondary research. The author’s goal was to determine if better educational leadership could influence the students’ grades and vice versa. The study also separated different leadership styles from one another to determine if any of them had a significantly stronger effect. A total of 28,964 study subjects were included in the sample group. There are several major ethical concerns related to secondary research. For example, the authors of primary research studies do not always state if the subjects allowed for their results or information, such as age and gender, to be used in further studies. Moreover, even though the research used in the article was considered regarding its reliability and lack of bias, there is a possibility of the faults in the primary study’s design that were not addressed in research protocols or articles. Neither of these issues was addressed in the paper, which means that the author’s consideration of the ethical issues associated with the study was minimal.

References

Karadag, E., Bektas, F., Cogaltay, N., & Yalcin, M. (2015). The effect of educational leadership on students’ achievement: a meta-analysis study. Asia Pacific Education Review, 16, 79–93

Khan, H. A. (2016). Impact of educational leadership on effective educational management in higher education institutions of Pakistan. Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies, 7(1), 75-84.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2017). Web.

National Institute of Health (NIH) (2016).Web.

Oxford Dictionary (2017). Web.

Resnik, D. (2015). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Web.

Waaland, T. (2016). Educational leadership, autonomy and mentoring provided: Investigating the moderating influence of educational leadership. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 19(4), 464-481.

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