DESCIBE that as a researcher, you are required: (1)


There are a number of ethical principles that should be taken into account when performing research. At the core, these ethical principles derived the need to create beneficence and avoiding no harm  as non-malfeasance. Where, in practice, these ethical principles mean that as a researcher, you are required:

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 (1) Obtaining informed consent from potential research participants

 (2) by minimizing the risk of harm to participants

 (3) protect their anonymity and confidentiality

 (4) avoiding the usage of deceptive practices

 (5) allowing the participants the right to withdraw from your research



In reality, researchers should not harm the participants. Where there is the possibility that participants could be harmed or put in a position of discomfort, there must be strong justifications for this issue. Such scenarios will also require an additional planning to demonstrate how a participant harmed will be reduced, informed consent, and detailed debriefing.


Informed consent means that participants should understand that they are taking part in research project and what the research requires of them. That information may include the purpose of the research, the method being used, the possible outcomes of the research, as well as associated demands, discomforts, inconveniences and risks that the participants may face.

Another reliable component of informed consent is the principle that participants should be volunteers, taking part without having been coerced and deceived.


Protecting the anonymity and confidentiality of research participants is another practical component of research ethics. Participants will typically only be willing to volunteer information, especially information of a private or sensitive nature, if the researcher agrees to hold such information in confidence. Whilst it is possible that research participants may be hurt in some way if the data collection methods used are somehow insensitive, there is or are a greater danger that once data has been collected harm can be happened. This occurs when data is not treated confidentially, either in terms of the storing of data, its analysis, or during the process of publication. Another alternative is to remove the identifiers e.g., vernacular terms, the names, geographical cues, etc. or provide proxies when writing up the case.

Therefore, if you need to consider the ways of overcoming the problems, such as aggregating data in tables and  setting rules that ensure a minimum number of units are present before data/information can be presented.


Firstly, a deceptive practice arises in the face of the informed consent. After all, how can a participant know (a) that they are taking part in the research and (b) what the research requires of them if they are being deceived? This is part of what makes the use of deceptive practices controversial. For this reason, in most circumstances, dissertation research should avoid any kinds of deceptive practices. However, this is not always the case.


With the exception of those instances of covert observation where it is not feasible to allow everyone that is being observed will know what you are doing, research participants should always have the right to withdraw from the research process. Furthermore, participants should have the right to withdraw at any stage in the research process. When a participant chooses to withdraw from the research process, they, by all means should not be pressured or indirectly forced in any way to try and stop them from withdrawing.


Ethical considerations in research are about choices and actions, and in decision making which distinguish between the right and wrong.  It determines the difference between acceptable and unacceptable situations. Ethical standards will prevent against the fabrication or falsifying of data and therefore, promote the pursuit of knowledge and truth which are the primary goal of research.  Ethical behavior is also critical for collaborative work because it encourages an environment of trust, accountability and mutual respect among researchers.  This is very important when considering issues related to data sharing, co-authorship, copyright guidelines, confidentiality, in order for the public to support and believe in the research.  Other helpful guidelines such as human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, conflicts of interest, safety and health standards and so forth, must be followed by the researcher.  These ethical issues are greatly impact the integrity of the research project and affected the chances to receive funding if researcher cannot achieve this requirement.

Ethical considerations are main subject in research, so that many professional associations and agencies have adopted codes and policies for the outline of ethical behavior and guide researchers.  The examples of codes address issues is a honesty, objectivity, respect for intellectual property, social responsibility, confidentiality, non-discrimination and many others.  It provides basic guidelines, but researchers will still be facing with additional issues that are not specifically addressed and this will require decision-making on the part of the researcher in order to avoid misconduct.  The resource on this page address includes many of those issues and the case studies used in these resources provide excellent examples on the types of types of issues. 

One of the most important ethical considerations in research is the use of human subjects.  To address these considerations, most institutions and organizations have developed an Institutional Review Board (IRB).  An IRB is a panel of people who help to ensure the safety of human subjects in research and who can assist in making sure that human rights are not violated.  They review the research methodology in grant proposals to assure that ethical practices are being utilized.  The use of an IRB also helps to protect the institution and the researchers against potential legal implications from any behavior that may be deemed unethical. 

Examples of some of these issues include voluntary participation and informed consent.   The voluntary participation requires that people not be coerced into participating in research. It required of informed consent whereby participants must be fully informed about the procedures and risks involved in research and must give their consent to participate. Harm can be defined as both physical and psychological.  Ethical standards also protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the subjects. Good research practice often requires the use of a no-treatment control group – a group of participants who do not get the treatment or program that is being studied. But when that treatment or program may have beneficial effects, the persons assigned to the no-treatment control may feel of their rights to equal access to services are being curtailed.