Ethics in research take into consideration the privacy and requirements of the participants and the information being published in the journals. When people participate in a research, they have to deal with their values and that of the science’s which might conflict with the values of society and gives rise to tensions.
Here is an attempt to draw attention to the potential ethical issues that arise while conducting or participating in a research:
Consent or approval is a major issue in research. It indicates that a person consciously willingly and wisely gives his/her consent to participate in the research. The participant’s right to autonomy should be incorporated and protected to thwart attacks on the integrity of the participant. Naturally, people can make a decision to participate in a survey willingly only if they are informed about the potential benefits and risks of the research. Therefore, the researcher needs to inform the participants about the research and its purpose in addition to a clarification about the choice of the respondents and research procedures that will be used. In addition, it is necessary to discuss any unwarranted surveillance or any threat to self-respect. The researcher must consider that participants with physical, emotional, and cultural barriers may need an easy language to understand him/her. As a final point, the choice to withdraw should be explained in case the participants develop a personal or friendly association with the researcher.
Do no harm to the participants
The ethical principle includes professional authorization to do valuable and significant research in order to better serve and support the well being of the participants. Sometimes, the research conclusion can prove that it was not as favorable as it was anticipated. This can raise huge ethical reflection. Therefore, a researcher must think about all the possible results of the research and compare the risks with the benefits. If the risks are more significant than the benefits, the research should be revised. If the participants experience any sort of discomfort or harm during the process of the research, they should feel comfortable and confident to express their feelings.
Privacy of the participants
Privacy is an individual’s freedom to decide the time, level, and circumstances under which he/she is willing to share or withheld private information from others. The invasion of privacy occurs when personal information, opinions, feelings, history is shared without the participant’s knowledge or permission. A researcher has no right to decide on these sensitive issues on behalf of others. All objectives, methodology, and tools must be checked with the potential participants and the volunteers before conducting the investigation.
Whenever a participant refuses to disclose personal information, the researcher must respect their standpoint. Privacy can be attacked when a researcher investigates certain groups without identifying himself or without the knowledge of the subjects. Invasion of privacy might result in the loss of self-respect, employment, or generate feelings of guilt, embarrassment, anxiety, or shame. Therefore, a researcher must adopt all possible measures to protect participants from any physical, emotional, or public damage during and after the research.
Anonymity and confidentiality
The issue of anonymity can be avoided when the participant’s identity is not linked to his/her personal responses. The researcher must promise anonymity and management of information provided by the participant in order to hide the participant’s identity. Confidentiality allows individuals to provide and keep back as much information they wish to choose. However, ethical issues can arise when the researcher has to break confidentiality due to the moral responsibility to protect the society.
While the happiness and interests of the society are more important, the moral responsibility of the researcher can’t be ignored. Although the researcher might feel that he/she has not defended the society, he/she may have to disclose confidential data to courts, resulting in a moral dilemma. In some situations, moral duty can be more powerful than the legal needs. Even in the absence of any moral or legal conflicts, the researcher might face problems while maintaining confidentiality during a research.
The researcher should always consider all emotional and social impact that the violation of confidentiality might have on the participants. To protect them, the researcher must describe them their rights and coding systems that are considered appropriate in that research.
These days, it is a major ethical concern to include vulnerable groups as research subjects. Vulnerable groups include people who are unable to watch over their own rights and interests. These include prisoners, students, children, institutionalized, aged people, critically ill patients, people with learning disabilities, etc. Their participation in the research is questionable due to their inability to provide their consent. In addition, the researcher needs to further protect and be compassionate towards these participants as they are at risk of being forced or threatened to participate. The vulnerability of these subjects adds to the need for a good reason for using of such subjects. A deep analysis of prospective risks and advantages is necessary before initiating such a research.
The researcher’s skills
In any research, there are three important elements – the research design, the researcher’s skills, and the important anticipated results. The researcher should possess the essential knowledge and skills for conducting a specific study. New researchers must work under the supervision of the experts and have their work assessed by an ethics board. The researcher should be careful about choosing the right method for collecting data and ensure legality and reliability of research.
Ethical issues, contradictory values, and uncertainty in management are recurrent in the field of the research. Because of the numerous issues in ethical standards, researchers must gain insight into these issues and develop an efficient framework to handle problems related to moral principles and human rights. This will help the researcher to understand participant’s rights as opposed to the well-being of society. Technical writing experts are aware of the various issues that arise during the course of the research and data collection. They can help the researcher to deal with these issues and to avoid any setback to the process of the research.