Ethics are written documents which reflect the morals of society. Morals are seen as written codes which exist in society to determine what is acceptable and unacceptable in society. In research, morals are written regulations which are put in place in order to insure individuals that are taking part are being treated the way they should be. When codes of ethics are written, they are not rules. They serve to set boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable when conducting research.
Principles in research
This is making sure that the individuals that are taking part are looked after correctly. The individuals should be protected, both physically and mentally. The individual’s personal information should also be protected if it is related to the research. Their personal information should be treated confidentially. It is also important to ensure that the individuals only participate voluntarily. Also, stipulating that the plan for any research project is subject to independent scrutiny by the experts. Researchers also need to consider possible effects of their research on their participants. This would be things such as the individual’s rights and their feelings. The research that is carried out should also come to no harm or maleficence of the individuals participating.
Participants should be told how their contribution will advance the research that is being carried out. Before the participant takes part in the research, they should receive all the information that they will need for the project.
Some of the information that is required would be an overall purpose of the research being carried out. Participants should also be informed of what is expected of them if they do take part, and what, if there are any, risks involved in participating. The participants should also have an entitlement that allows them to withdraw from the research at any time.
The researcher should ensure that any of the data from the participants cannot be identified or traceable back to a specific participant. The researcher must put in place the correct measures in order to make sure that this doesn't happen. This could be done by for example using reference numbers instead of the participants names, this is allowing the participants to maintain anonymity.
Any research that is carried out by the NHS, must have ethical approval. This is done by a panel of individuals who are a research committee and they will evaluate each proposal. But, to get a research project approved within the NHS is lengthy and can take months to do.
Ethical issues and research
Ethical codes for research are only guidelines and not legislations. The boundaries set by those codes can be extended or reduced. This can happen especially during scientific research, for example animal or human testing.
Over time boundaries are extended by the research. Society’s understanding of what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable is based on existing knowledge. Research that is extending through existing boundaries into unfamiliar creates research dilemmas.
Individuals in the EU have:
A right to life
To be free from torture or degrading treatment
Not to be discriminated against
Have their privacy respected
Role of the media
The media has a very strong influence on society, especially when looking at its influence on the public’s opinion. The public will read something in the media, and believe it as it’s their only way of getting information about research that is being carried out. Most of the time the media is biased, so we only read or hear about one side of the research. Sometimes this is only the good things about a certain drug, and not its side effects.
Use and misuse of data
When a researcher carries out a…