Ethics are the set of rules that govern our expectations of our own and others’ behavior. Research Ethics is the set of ethical guidelines that guide us on how scientific research should be conducted and disseminated. Research ethics govern the standard of conduct for scientific researchers. It is the guideline for responsibly conducting the research. The research ethics committee/institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews whether the research is ethical or not to protect the rights, dignity, and welfare of the respondents.
Ethics in research
Provides researchers with ethical principles or guidelines for the successful conduct of research.
what is ethics
The morality of a human act
Concerned with what is good for the people and society as a whole.
Provides rules that govern the society as a whole.
Behaving Ethically- doing the right thing at the right time.
Research ethics is mainly concerned with the treatment of human participants in research. According to the Tri-council policy statement on ethical conduct for research involving humans, there are three core ethical principles for any research involving human beings.
➢ Respect for persons (to respect their autonomy and “protect those
with developing, impaired or diminished autonomy”)
➢ Concern for welfare (to “protect the welfare of participants, and, in
some circumstances, to promote that welfare in view of any foreseeable risks”)
➢ Justice (to “treat people fairly and equitably”)
Provides guidelines for the responsible conduct of research.
Allows researchers and scholars to further educate themselves and monitor their activities in the conduct of research. ( ensure a HIGH ethical standard )
Ensure that research subjects are not placed in harm’s way.
Be reminded that they have the moral obligation to provide maximum benefits to the participants.
Be guided by ethical principles to maintain research integrity and avoid research misconduct.
There is acceptable and unacceptable conduct of research, especially when humans and animals are involved.
Objectives of Research Ethics:
The first and comprehensive objective – to guard/protect human participants, their dignity, rights and welfare.
The second objective – to make sure that research is directed in a manner that assists the welfare of persons, groups, and/or civilization as a whole.
The third objective – to inspect particular research events and schemes for their ethical reliability, considering issues such as the controlling risk, protection of privacy, and the progression of informed consent.
Researchers ought to keep their promises and honor agreements, such as agreements with donors and research participants.
Academic integrity is a broad term that includes research integrity and research ethics, as well as appropriate behavior in non-research settings, such as avoiding plagiarism, cheating, and copyright infringement.
Research integrity is generally defined as a range of good research practices and conduct, which includes:
➢ Intellectual honesty in proposing, performing, and reporting research (e.g., avoiding fabrication or falsification of data);
➢ Accuracy in representing contributions to research proposals and reports;
➢ Fairness in peer review;
➢ Collegiality in professional interactions, including sharing of resources;
➢ Transparency in conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest;
➢ Protection of human participants in the conduct of research;
➢ Humane care of animals in the conduct of research; and
➢ Adherence to the mutual responsibilities of investigators and their research participants. (McGill)
Research Ethics and Academic Integrity
When conducting academic research (regardless of the type of research or the stage you are at in your studies), it is important to have a grasp of basic research ethics and to make sure that your research is conducted appropriately and with integrity. ‘Research ethics’ is a very broad field, but at the undergraduate level, your main focus should be on grasping the concept of academic integrity and ensuring that you apply its key principles when doing and reporting on your research.
While most of your research at this level is likely to be secondary (that is, researching the work of others), you may also engage in some primary research (that is, original research that you design and carry out yourself), particularly in the later stages of your degree. Principles of academic integrity and honesty apply to both types of research.
Here are three key principles of academic integrity:
Do not twist the facts to suit your hypothesis: A hypothesis is an idea or a statement that can be tested through research. Here are some examples of hypotheses:
• Plastic has hitherto untapped potential as a building material.
• Universities serve to reproduce socioeconomic advantage.
• Global warming is not caused by human activity.
As you progress and maybe continue to postgraduate study, you will need to develop a deeper understanding of research ethics, including requirements to:
- Declare any potential conflicts of interest
- Obtain informed consent from research participants
- Observe data protection laws and policies and respect the confidentiality and privacy of research participants
- Protect human and animal safety, welfare, and rights as much as possible
- Respect cultural and other sensitivities and differences
- Share your data when appropriate