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Ethical Issues in Quantitative Research

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❶In the history of social and medical science, there have been a few research studies that seriously injured people, and many more in which their welfare was not sufficiently protected.

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Research strategy and research ethics

This perspective has changed in later times, since it is taken for granted that various values, issues and factors, such as formal arrangements and financial priorities, will influence the research that is undertaken.

The question is therefore what kinds of values and socially normative factors in reality serve to govern research, and what values help justify and legitimise it. One academic value concerns reliability and credibility, focusing on the quality of the research methods that are applied and the researchers' ethical standards. A value that is of more recent origin states that research must be accessible for scrutiny and published, which is related to the need for control and possible unintended consequences.

Researchers are never exempted from exercising sound ethical judgement, they need to be methodologically qualified for conducting research with validity and quality, and they must do their utmost to ensure that objective concerns take precedence over preconceived notions and assessments. Being honest means being fair and credible — being trustworthy.

Dishonesty may sometimes manifest itself in plagiarism, fabrication or forgery of data, or in taking the credit for someone else's work. Plagiarism can include duplicating, copying or many other subtle forms of using the theories, interpretations, designs or results of others without reference to the sources.

Intentional falsifications give rise to fundamental problems of research ethics. These will include deliberate and planned acts to arrive at specific conclusions.

As in the example above, there may be grounds to characterise this as cheating and fraud. In other words, this is scientific dishonesty in practice. Misleading results may thus emerge when certain conclusions are of greater interest to the researcher than the scientific evidence that follows from an objective scientific investigation.

This is the background for the questions raised about commercially based research and certain forms of commissioned research. When a piece of research work is used to corroborate certain arguments put forward by a commissioning agency, there is a risk of crossing the line that separates research from legitimising and manipulatory activities.

Unintended errors may be a direct consequence of inadequate competence in research methodology. In order to maintain the high-quality work that research implies, it is thus a key precondition that the researchers are competent to use relevant and acceptable research methods.

Clear initiatives have been taken to prevent unworthy conditions in the form of scientific misconduct, academic dishonesty etc.

In psychology and educational science, the American Psychological Association APA has played a key role through its Ethics Code, which since the early s has been published in increasingly complete versions. These ethical norms include issues such as requirements for honesty, requirements for informed consent, anonymisation and storage of data, the right of access to data for participants and duty of confidentiality for all those who undertake research. Protection of the integrity of research participants and informants is a particularly important ethical norm in research, including in special-needs education studies.

This norm focuses on protection against various forms of risk involved in participation in research and the protection of the identity of participants, including concerns for preventing stigmatisation of particular populations or groups. For example, such a risk will be present if it transpires that a particular ethnic group is overrepresented among families and children who have been reported to the child protection services. In such cases, it will be essential to clarify the background, while at the same time emphasising that the child protection services are an integral element of a welfare state.

In any event, publication of such forms of research involves an ethical challenge. Protection of anonymity and thus privacy is a key issue in protecting integrity.

However, the practical application of this norm may come into conflict with a wish to use a specific design. This may involve the need for methodologically valid replications and testing of research findings, and there may be a need for linking data from various sources.

The latter may include, for example, questionnaire data from students that the researcher wishes to link to the teachers' assessments of the same students. It has also been shown that the use of electronic methods as well as telephone interviews often gives rise to scepticism regarding real preservation of anonymity. As a result, certain informants will refuse to participate Coen et al. In addition, it will generally be more difficult to protect the anonymity of informants in qualitative studies than when collective, quantitative methods are used such as various forms of questionnaire-based methods.

Irrespective of whether this involves observations or interviews, the individuals will stand out in a direct and visible manner. In personal interviews, the informant will recount previous experiences in his or her own words, which may be recognisable to others. When designs for collective questioning are used, however, individual characteristics will be less identifiable, and individuals who have completed a questionnaire will not be directly visible.

It is often assumed that the standardized methods and formalised requirements for quantitative research help ensure academic and ethical credibility. Even though there will be fewer subjective elements of error here than in qualitative research, there will be ample opportunities for dishonesty to render the research misleading even when quantitative methods are applied. At worst, researchers may manipulate the data, use fictitious and fabricated data or discard any unwanted results.

When research is undertaken in solitude and the researcher is alone in having insight into what is being done, the road to dishonesty lies open. Numerous examples of research fraud can be found, in both an historical and contemporary context. These examples include academics who were held to be researchers of high stature, but in reality were untrustworthy. In educational psychology, Cyril Burt — represents an especially grave case.

By fabricating and manipulating research data in his studies of twins, he could "confirm" his theory of heritability of intelligence. International academic literature contains innumerable descriptions of "The Cyril Burt Affair".

The essence of Burt's reprehensible acts consisted in the fact that many of the twins in his material did not exist, nor did many of the researchers with whom Burt had "collaborated". However, this scandal draws attention to the fact that the research community has traditionally been closed and disinclined towards openness, including with regard to potential risk factors, and thus underscores the need for a clear focus on values as well as for increased transparency and monitoring.

In light of what we know about dishonesty, two self-evident countermeasures are commonly identified: The question is what we can do to develop these areas further. There can hardly be any doubt that the monitoring is often of a superficial nature. Those who have funded research are often content to receive some research reports, and unannounced observations of the research process are rarely undertaken. In most cases, monitoring amounts to a critical reading of a report or an article.

Ideally, however, replication by means of an empirical investigation of the key conclusions ought to be a standard requirement for publication. However, monitoring may be of limited value and may also entail unintended negative consequences, since the desired creativity presupposes freedom as well as trust. Facilitating an expanded ethical competence in researchers and research communities is therefore a key concern.

This includes ethical awareness and follow-up on the part of agencies that provide research funding. This is also a matter of ethics in a wider context, in the need to focus on power relationships and processes that maintain hegemony, whereby particularly subjects in the fields of care and learning are systematically discriminated against when resources are allocated.

This is also a matter of those who repeatedly have resources allocated to them, the self-recruitment for such assignments and at worst, the "guarantors" of favourable conclusions.

This topic has attracted little attention in this country so far, and it is also beyond the limits of this treatise. Above, we have focused on how research competence includes ethical, professional and methodological credibility. For example, when educational researchers possess limited insight into learning and the learning processes in children, they will have very limited qualifications for undertaking adequate empirical research.

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 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. These principles are followed to guarantee that all human subjects are choosing to participate of their own free will and that they have been fully informed regarding the procedures of the research project and any potential risks.

Potential participants must be competent to make a decision regarding participation and must be free from any coercion. The consent may be given in a written or oral form depending on the nature of the research. Ethical standards also protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the subjects.

Researchers should not share information between participants and should have procedures in place to protect the data and names of participants. Jaap van Harten, the Executive Publisher of Elsevier, shares insights about research and publishing ethics, data manipulation, plagiarism, publication duplication, and the consequences of scientific misconduct.

The Elsevier webpage offers a series of short videos in its Ethics Toolkit that address a variety of issues related to ethics in quantitative research. Following are two videos from that series that highlight key issues in quantitative research: To view more videos in the series, go to Elsevier Ethics Toolkit. Quantitative Research - The following link provides a discussion of the process of designing quantitative research and the steps necessary to ensure that there will be no ethical violations.

What is an IRB and its Purpose? What is the purpose of an IRB and how does a researcher know when they need to use it? Ethics in Research — The Web Center for Social Research Methods - Some of the key terminology associated with research ethics are described on this site, as well as a brief history of ethical considerations in research. The following website discusses common codes and policies regarding ethics in research. Ethical Issues in Conducting Research — The following link is PDF that offers a comprehensive discussion of ethical issues in conducting research.

This pin will expire , on Change. This pin never expires. Select an expiration date. About Us Contact Us. Search Community Search Community. Ethical Considerations in Quantitative Research Ethical considerations for quantitative research will be examined in this module. Describe why adhering to ethical principles is important in research. Explain the specific ethical issues to consider in quantitative research.

Describe the purpose and function of the Institutional Review Board. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches.

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Ethical considerations for quantitative research will be examined in this module. Learning Objectives: Describe why adhering to ethical principles is important in research. Explain the specific ethical issues to consider in quantitative research. List the core ethical principles that should guide the researcher’s actions in quantitative research.

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Ethical Issues in Quantitative Research Monday, February 12, - pm to pm 02/12/ pm Ethical Issues in Quantitative Research Helen Harton, psychology department, will lead this workshop, which will help participants become acquainted with key ethical issues involved in research and scholarship. Identify the issues in research that directly affect the “privacy” of an individual. Define “deception” and the rationale for why it may be used in a research study. Distinguish between ethical considerations in quantitative and qualitative research. Understand the role of institutional review boards in monitoring ethics in research.

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Results: The major ethical issues in conducting research are: a) Informed consent, b) Beneficence- Do not harm c) Respect for anonymity and confidentiality d) Respect for privacy. However, both the nature of nursing which focuses on . Research methods and research ethics. The potential ethical issues raised by different research methods not only differ from one type of research method to the next (e.g., surveys versus in-depth interviews), but also the way in which a research method is used (e.g., overt versus covert observation).