The purpose of this essay is to produce guidance for educational researchers in relation to ethical protocols that should be followed. When conducting research it is vital to provide all participants with a Code of Ethics. Ethics are very important in any kind of research. Ethics is defined as a set of moral principles or values. It distinguishes between what is good and bad; determines moral duty and obligations; and establishes principles of conduct for an individual and a professional group (Ethics for Experts, online). Ethical guidelines have been used in a variety of ways for many years. Nowadays numerous organisations and professional bodies such as the Medical Research Council, the General Nursing Council, the British Sociological Association and others have gone a long way to formalise their own ethical guidelines, research contracts, codes of practice and protocols, including such issues as deception concerning the purpose of investigations, encroachment on privacy, confidentiality, safety, care needed when research involves children (J, Bell, pg.45). Producing a code of ethics provides the researcher to ensure that participants are fully aware of the purpose of the research and understand their rights with details of what you intend to do with the information they give and displays that you intend to treat both them and the information they provide with respect and honesty. The guidelines will cover the following issues; negotiating access to the sample, confidentiality, consent, use of quotations and other points of view and reporting the work.
Negotiating access to the sample
In order to carry out any research researchers need to negotiate and gain permission before they conduct their research. The researcher firstly needs to have the participant’s willingness to participate in the research. Collecting information, gaining and maintaining access to participants can be challenging. The first thing the researcher needs to do is to gain permission from participants in writing. McNiff et al (2006) stated that gaining permission from participants by providing them with information is a matter of sensible negotiation in research projects that deals with sensitive issues, where you may decide on limited disclosure. This is not just an issue of courtesy but a matter of avoiding potential litigation.
Confidentiality is an important principle when carrying out any research. Researcher’s need to assure all participants they will maintain confidentiality at all times. Participants should be assured that their interest will be put first at all times also if they wish to withdraw from the research at any time all data held about them will be destroyed. All participants need to be assured that all information supplied in confidence will not be disclosed to any third parties. Researchers also need to think about how they will be storing all information they receive it would be unethical if the information was stored inappropriately and fell into unprincipled hands. Researchers need to write out an ethic statement and hand out to all participants. Kumar (2005), states that sharing information about participants with others other than research is held highly unethical. It is unethical to identify respondents therefore all information given and respondent’s anonymity should be kept confidential at all times. The Data Protection Act 1998 states that all personal information held on paper records or on computers should not be kept longer than necessary. Consent
Seeking consent firstly from participants is considered the most ethical thing to do when carrying out any research. It is considered to be unethical in every discipline to collect information without the knowledge of participants, their expressed willingness and informed consent. Bailey (1978) citied in Kumar (2005) states that seeking informed consent is probably the most common method in medical and