Ethical Research

Ethics is a fundamental core in any form of research. Manipulating facts and figures in order to gain a desired response is both socially and legally inflicting. Without research, evaluations cannot be made, if the information has already been tempered with the final result will be inaccurate possibly effecting current and future perceptions of the topic.

Ethically conflicting moments can arise through any stage of the research process and need to be dealt with in the correct manner to ensure the research is not jeopardised. Guillemin and Gillam explore the notion of ethical research in their journal article. There are two forms of ethical research “procedural ethics” and “ethics in research”. Procedural ethics usually involves “seeking approval from a relevant ethics committee to undertake research involving humans” and ethics in research involves “the everyday ethical issues that arise in the doing of research.”

There are a series of codes that should be followed in researching to ensure the data collected is reliable and accurate. Honesty, objectivity, integrity, carefulness, openness, respect for intellectual property, confidentiality, responsible publication, responsible mentoring, respect for colleagues, legalities and animal care are only a few that should be considered each time research is conducted.

Although there are situations where often these codes will conflict or cannot be applied, if this arises it is important to have the skills and knowledge that enables accurate interpretation of research results.

It is important to provide ethical research because it can result in legal implications which can effect the researcher and their future. For example, when looking at a case study, Dr Q has 50 mice to inject with different doses of a hypertension drug, there are 5 mice left to test but Dr Q wants to finish early to start his holiday, he has injected all 50 mice but has not finished his tests. He decides to extrapolate the 45 completed results to produce an additional 5. This is seen as fabricating data, if this research was sponsored by the government this would fall under misconduct which the government would define as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism” (FFP). Ethics are important in all stages of the research process, changing even minor details can affect the entire result and deciding to publish this will have a lasting effect on any information based on those findings in the future.

Undertaking ethical research is fundamental in not only maintaining a reputable image for the researcher or research company by ensuring information and research derived from those results in the future will not jeopardise any pivotal outcomes, such as research into curing cancer. Regardless of whether the research undertaken is on a topic that is small or large ethics should always be applied to avoid legal and social implications as well as potentially controlling the results of anything associated with that research in the future.

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