SOC234 2017 Lab11 – Wed 1330 Rm 17-108

Dear SOC234 Lab,

Please respond to the following question with a reply-post of no more than 250 words:

‘What are the key principles and challenges of ethical research?”

Remember that you will need to post your reply before Lab 11, and don’t forget to look at both the instructions for Tweeting and Blogging and the Lab and Lecture Guide, both up on Moodle.

Thanks and good luck, Roger.

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24 Comments

  1. The aim of ethical research is to ensure ethical principles and values are used and determine ones research (Habibis, 2010). Ethical research has the purpose to decrease harm and maltreatment of participants. When completing research, the researcher must ensure voluntary and informed consent of the participant. This is a duty and responsibility of a researcher when completing an experiment with human subjects (Habibis, 2010). This is to ensure the freedom of choice and to eliminate any problems that may occur in the future. A researcher must also avoid all unnecessary harm towards a participant, including any physical or mental suffering or injury that can hurt a participant (Habibis, 2010). Provisions should be made regarding facilities that can help to protect a participant in the case of any suffering or harm that may be caused by the experiment, even if the possibility of harm is minute.
    Even when taking the above into consideration a challenge is present within ethical research. It is considered an extremely high risk and unethical to experiment on participants that are unable to protect their own interests, in particular, children and adults with cognitive impairments (Wrigley, 2015). Though, in some cases research cannot be completed on anyone else but those from the vulnerable group. For example, if a researcher is studying dementia treatments or behavioural disorders within children it would be of most effect to include participants showing those particular characteristics (Wrigley, 2015). When this is the case ethical committees make judgments on if an experiment is to take place, ensuring ethical behaviour and research is instigated throughout the study.
    References
    Habibis, D (2010) ‘Ethics and Social Research’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods, Second Edition, Oxford, Sydney NSW pp. 90-93
    Wrigley, A (2015) ‘Human experiment- the good, the bad and the ugly’, The Conversation, Viewed 11 October 2017,

  2. Ethical research is defined by Habibis (2013) as ‘ensuring that ethical principles and values always govern research involving humans’. The key principles of ethical research surround the protection of participants, including informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality and protection from harm (Habibis 2013). Informed consent is involved with informing participants about the research and what it involves before they make the decision to participate or not. Anonymity ensures the participant is protected from identification. Confidentiality ensures that the information provided by participants during the research, is not uncovered out side of the research. Protection from harm is essential for researchers to abide by, as it involves both physical and psychological harm. Ethics committees ensure that these principles have been abided by before allowing the research to commence.
    Two examples of challenges that may be faced by the researcher include utilising vulnerable groups and the effects of informed consent on research. Vulnerable participant groups that may prove a challenge to researchers can include both children and people with psychological or physical disabilities (Patulny 2017). If research requires the participation of such vulnerable groups, the ability to gain informed consent may be effected. However in some research cases, a lack of informed consent is essential. In one Facebook study where informed consent was lacking, the research was still considered ‘ethically robust ’(Hunter 2014). This was due to the inclusion of minimal risk, a positive balance of benefits over harms as well as debriefing and an opportunity to opt out (Hunter 2014).

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  3. Ethical research incorporates ethical values and principles. Best practice of ethics involves four key principles, these are, do no harm, informed consent, privacy and voluntary participation. Conflict of interest between researchers and the researched that can arise during research presenting unique challenges for ethical research, these challenges will be discussed towards the end of this blog. There are four values that guide ethical research involving humans, these are research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect for human beings (Habibis 2013). The four key principles of ethical research, do no harm, informed consent, privacy and voluntary participation, are embedded in these values. Ethical research is deemed to have merit, integrity and avoids deceiving participants where possible (Habibis 2013). Ethical research demands the just and fair treatment of participants where participants experience equal distribution of the benefits and burdens of research (Habibis 2013). The concept of beneficence is related to justice, beneficence requires researches to account for harm (Habibis 2013). One of the key principles of ethical research, and a challenge for ethical research, is to do no harm. The notion of doing no harm is sometimes unattainable and so researchers minimise the risk involved and balance this with the potential benefits to participants and the wider community, this is known as beneficence (Habibis 2013). The fourth value binds together the previous three values of ethical research, respect for participants means to be considerate of participant welfare, beliefs, customs and cultural heritage (Habibis 2013). Informed consent and privacy underpin respect. Informed consent ensures participants willingly partake in research, participants should never feel coerced to participate and should always be made aware of and understand the risks and benefits associated taking part (Habibis 2013). Ethical research also protects the privacy of participants, privacy falls into two categories, confidentiality and anonymity. Confidentiality is where the researcher protects the identity of participants, often with the use of pseudonyms (Habibis 2013). Alternately, participants can remain anonymous to everyone including the researcher, this is often the case in surveys where participants do not include their name (Habibis 2013). The key principles that guide ethical research aim are protective and make sure research is honest and by ensuring that the benefits of the research outweigh the risks associated with the study. However, conflicts between the needs of the researcher and the researched may arise and issues around informed consent, risk, harm minimisation and data push research ethics into a grey area. For example, the nature of research can mean that informed consent is not possible such as in covert ethnographic where informed consent can compromise data and findings. Gaining informed consent can also be difficult when researching vulnerable groups for example psychiatric patients where medication can compromise the ability to understand the study and the risks involved (Habibis 2013). Ethics in research is important in protecting the welfare of the researcher and the researched, ethical guidelines are blurred when different challenges arise in research. In any case, the benefits of research must always outweigh risk and harm.

    Habibis, D 2013, ‘Ethics and Social Research’, Chapter 4 in Walter, Maggie (ed.) 2013, Social Research Methods, 3rd Edition, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, pp. 72-96

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  4. **EDIT**

    Four key principles of ethical research aim to protect human participants from harm. Ethical research has merit, integrity, avoids deceiving participants where possible and demands the just and fair treatment of participants (Habibis 2013). However, doing no harm is sometimes unrealistic and researchers minimise risk involved and balance this with the potential benefits to participants, this is known as beneficence (Habibis 2013). Nevertheless, researchers need to respect participants and informed consent and privacy underpin respect. Informed consent ensures participants willingly partake in research, participants should never feel coerced to participate and should always be made aware of and understand the risks and benefits (Habibis 2013). However, the nature of research can mean that informed consent is not possible for example in covert ethnographic where informed consent can compromise data and findings. Informed consent is also challenging when researching vulnerable groups for example psychiatric patients where medication can compromise the ability to understand the study and the risks involved (Habibis 2013). Ethical research protects the privacy of participants, privacy falls into two categories, confidentiality and anonymity. Confidentiality is where the researcher protects the identity of participants, often with the use of pseudonyms (Habibis 2013). Alternately, participants can remain anonymous to everyone including the researcher, this is often the case in surveys where participants do not include their name (Habibis 2013). Ethics in research is important in protecting the welfare of the researcher and the researched, ethical guidelines are blurred when different challenges arise in research. In any case, the benefits of research must always outweigh risk and harm.

    Habibis, D 2013, ‘Ethics and Social Research’, Chapter 4 in Walter, Maggie (ed.) 2013, Social Research Methods, 3rd Edition, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, pp. 72-96

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  5. In social research, researchers hold enormous power over their participants, particularly those from vulnerable populations (Habibis, 2014, p. 73). Researchers are also responsible for the ethical conduct of their projects. A major challenge is balancing these aims and goals of the researcher with the protection of the participant, regulated by research ethics (Habibis, 2014, p. 74). Contemporary research ethics originates from the Nuremberg Code, establishing key principles governing participant ability to give consent, voluntarily participate and possess freedom of choice, to avoid unnecessary physical and mental suffering, avoid experiments causing disability, injury or death, and to have risk never exceed humanitarian importance, among others. These are key challenges that must be implemented to gain ethical approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee by minimising potential risk to participants (Habibis, 2014, pp. 75-16). This author believes the key ethical principle is “respect for human beings.” This implies participants are to be protected from distress and harm, afforded anonymity of identity to prevent breaches of privacy, and confidentiality to avoid linking information directly to participants. To ensure these are achieved, separate and secure data management and protection, and coding of participant data is vital (Habibis, 2014, pp. 81-83). Contemporarily, ethical debate surrounds the use of data acquired from social media and whether researchers have obtained appropriate informed consent from participant users; the data being located in public but highly personal (Habibis, 2014, p. 87). Of note was the 2012 Facebook social research conducted to induce emotional manipulation. It was unlikely that users provided informed consent as the declaration of research was buried deep in the seldom read terms and conditions, demonstrating a lack of transparency (Hunter, 2014).

    References:

    Habibis, D 2013, ‘Chapter 4: Ethics and Social Research’, in M Walter, Maggie (ed.), Social Research Methods, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp. 72-98.

    Hunter, D 2014, ‘Consent and ethics in Facebook’s manipulation study.’ The Conversation, 1/7/14: http://theconversation.com/consent-and-ethics-infacebooks-emotional-manipulation-study-28596

  6. Ethical research is the understanding of what is morally right when conducting research. Ethical standards in research are necessary because of the power imbalance between the researcher and the researched (Habibis, 2013, p.73). When undertaking research, a researcher may be approached by a variety of risks. These risks include harmful interventions, harmful questions, breach of privacy, and vulnerable groups. Establishing a set of moral standards for participants will allow control of these potential risks.

    When seeking consent, a researcher needs to ensure that the participant is provided with information that discusses the research’s purpose, methods, demands, risks and potential benefits. Additionally, The researcher needs to conduct confidentiality for the participants. Anonymity will ensure that the participant’s privacy is respected and that the information the participant has provided cannot be used to identify them. To guarantee participants confidentiality, implications for the way data is recorded and stored needs to be conducted. To do this, researchers need to remove participant’s identity from material, have as little personal information as possible, use coding procedures, and to not store personal information on the researcher’s hard drive(Habibis, 2013, p.83).

    Some research that involves negligible risk to humans could possibly be exempt from submission to the human research ethics committee (HREC) (Habibis, 2013, p.77). However, low-risk research may involve a lower level of scrutiny by HREC’s. Research is only considered low risk when the only risk of a research is discomfort.
    Further, when conducting research, the researcher should be aware of vulnerable populations. They include children, Indigenous, prisoners, participants with psychological and physical disabilities and so on. Recognition will ensure no risk of harm or discomfort for vulnerable participants will occur.

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    References:

    Habibis, D 2013, ‘Ethics and social research’, chapter 4 in Walter, Maggie (ed) social research methods, south Melbourne, pp.72-98

  7. The ethics that govern research are complex. Ethics as defined by Habibis (2013) was “the establishment of a set of moral standards that govern behaviours in a particular setting or for a particular group.” Ethical research is that ethical principles are always a part of human research. (Habibis, 2013). One of the most important aspects of understanding ethics is understanding the position of power that the researcher has. There is an implied possession of knowledge as well as a certain myth of the discovery of “truth” (Habibis, 2013).
    The key principles of ethical research involve protection of the participant; informed consent; confidentiality and/or anonymity; and the right to refuse or withdraw permission at any time. Ethical research must also provide the participant protection from harm and discomfort including both physical and mental.
    One of the challenges is that you must gain approval. If a government organisation wishes to conduct research they must first submit their research to the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).
    One of the essential readings for this week was focussed on the ethics behind Facebooks emotional manipulation study (Hunter, 2014). During 2012 Facebook conducted a study on the ways in which users posted and how their emotions impacted what they posted. This study produced outrage because many people believed that Facebook had not gained informed consent or any consent from them (Hunter, 2014). This study violated the principles of ethics
    There are many problems and rules associated with the ethics of social research and when conducting research we must be careful to avoid the problems and follow the rules.
    #S234UOW17 #Lab11 # Wed130b
    References
    Habibis, D (2013) ‘Ethics and Social Research’, Chapter 4 in Walter, Maggie (ed.). (2013). Social Research Methods. 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p72-98
    Hunter, D (2014) ‘Consent and ethics in Facebook’s manipulation study.’ The Conversation, 1/7/14

  8. Ethics are central to research (Patulny, 2017), without it research conducted is unprincipled and unmanageable. The ethical guidelines set by agencies, funding bodies and committees (Patulny, 2017) provide boundaries about what can and cannot be conducted. The main principles of ethics include minimising risks involved, securing the safety, anonymity and confidentiality of participants. Vital to this process is informed consent, which is the awareness of risks associated, under the absence of duress (Patulny, 2017).

    There are challenges associated with ethics. For example, Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment (1971) was an unethical study, which aimed to measure sociological phenomenon associated with ‘fake’ prisoners and guards. However, this experiment had adverse effects on participants and ended abruptly. There was no informed consent and Zimbardo did not foreshadow the psychological harm which immersion would produce to those involved. Therefore, ethics must outweigh risks against humanitarian gains (Patulny, 2017).

    Another example introduces the “grey area” of consent. The Facebook ‘Emotional Manipulation Study (2014) claim there was informed consent to alter user’s news-feeds to either positive or negatives posts for over a week in 2012. This was carried out on 700,000 users who did not know they were participating in the study (Hunter, 2014). However, Facebook’s data use policy has terms and conditions, which users have agreed to when they joined the site. Yet, this research seemed to be underhand due to the lack of permission. Notably, the authors later disclosed that the benefits of the paper may not have justified the anxiety caused (Hunter, 2014).

  9. Ethical requirements in social research are a result from academic debate following the violation of human rights. Ethical principles need to be taken into consideration, whether the research undertaken involves negligible risk, when there are no indications of future harm to those involved. Or low-risk, when the only risk that could arise is the discomfort of the participant (Walter 2013, p. 77).
    Underpinning obligations in place for the researcher, to respect and protect the researched are placed in two categories. The first being anonymity, which falls under Walter’s (2013 p. 78) heading of respect for human beings. This involves participant’s identities being protected throughout the whole research process. And the second being confidentiality, this ensures that respondents cannot be identified (Walter 2013, p. 73).
    Seeking consent is a core aspect of social research. Consent can be expressed orally, on paper, or implied (Walters 2013, p. 79). This is where the case study presented by Hunter (2014) got tricky. Facebook is accused of misinterpreting the process of ‘informed consent’. Whether this was technically ethical or unethical, informed consent was not present in the setting (Hunter 2014).
    There are considerations in place to assess before research is undertaken without consent. It can be argued that Facebook did not uphold these standards in this situation.
    What is interesting is that Australia clearly has strict guidelines in relation to ethics, yet there are no general requirements in the UK hinting towards ethical approval (Marker & Martin 2007, p. 2261).
    Meeting the needs of the researched can be a challenge to researchers as it is easy to fail at ethical research failing to keep the participant’s integrity, morals and wellbeing (Walter 2013, p. 74). And this responsibility is ultimately on the researcher.

    References
    Habbis, D 2013, ‘Ethics and Social Research’, in M Walters (ed. 3), Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp. 72-98.
    Hunter, D 2014, ‘Consent and ethics in Facebook’s manipulation study.’ The Conversation, 1st July 2014.
    Martin, J & Marker D 2007, ‘Informed consent: Interpretations and practice on social surveys’, Social Science & Medicine, no. 65, pp. 2260-2271.

  10. Ethical principles in research allow for the presence of a governing set of moral principles, particularly in research on humans. These principles ensure standards are met, avoiding infringing on an individual’s rights and allowing for understanding of the power relations influencing research. (Habibis, 2013) There are situations where research must undergo ethical review. Research with a negligible risk to humans may be exempt, while research that is low-risk may require scrutiny by a human research ethics committee. (Habibis, 2013) There are several key values governing ethical research. Research must have merit (some level of benefit) and be carried out with integrity, research must be beholden to principles of distributive and procedural justice, i.e. fairness amongst participants, researchers must assess and account for the risks and potential benefits of their research, both to participants and the wider community, lastly, research must recognise the value of humans through respect for participants. This notion of respect underpins the other aspects of ethical research. Furthermore, principles of informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality and protection from harm are key considerations in ethical research. (Habibis, 2013) Some challenges may arise in maintaining ethical research. Researchers must have regard to whether the participants are members of a vulnerable or indigenous group and take measures accordingly. Researchers may also consider whether to use voluntary or paid participants. Where respondents are paid, this payment must not be viewed as coercion. Where the respondent is a volunteer, coercion may be avoided through the dissemination of information, allowing the potential participant to contact the researcher. (Habibis, 2013)

  11. The primary aim of conducting an ethical research is to protect the rights of the participant(s) throughout the entirety of the study. Informed consent (Habibis 2013, p.77) is required when research extends beyond negligible risk research,“no foreseeable risk of harm or discomfort to respondents” (Habibis 2013, p.77), and/or low risk research, respondent discomfort as the only foreseeable risk. The key principles of ethical research include (NHRMRC 2007, in Habibis 2013, p.77); “research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect”. However, challenges may arise in achieving these as the researcher must ethically conduct an experiment which will communicate the intersection of four different social realms/perspectives; the researcher, the participant(s), the participant(s) group/culture as a sub-group, the dominant social group/culture. This may be viewed through the proposed challenges towards defining and obtaining informed consent, as seen in the article ‘Complexity and consent: the ethics of researching youth’ (Riele 2012). It is assumed that those aged 18 and above will be able to provide informed consent to research, and that those aged 17 and under, will require consent from their parents or legal guardians. However, as stated by Riele (2012); “Is a young person aged 17 and ten months necessarily less mature and able to consent for herself than a young person aged 18 and one day? And is it always ethical to let parents or guardians have the final say about participation in research if their son or daughter wants to take part?”. Challenges may arise when the ‘child’ does not have access to the means of ‘legal consent’, such as with homeless children; children who do not have mutually-beneficial relationships with their legal parent or guardian; or those whose parent or legal guardian falls within the ‘vulnerable participant group’ (Habibis 2013, p.85). Additionally, personal research-topics such as sexuality may not want to be discussed with parents or guardians. But can anyone under the age of 18 really provide consent for themselves without issues of coercion or misinterpretation/misinformation?

    References

    Habibis, D (2013) ‘Ethics and Social Research’, Chapter 4 in Walter, Maggie (ed.). (2013). Social Research Methods. 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p72-98
    Riele, KT 2012, ‘Complexity and consent: the ethics of researching youth’, The Conversation, viewed 16 October 2017, https://theconversation.com/complexity-and-consent-the-ethics-of-researching-youth-9343

  12. Ethical research is commonly defined by Habibis (2013) as ensuring that ethical codes and ideals always govern research, no matter what the setting or individual. There are several reasons why it is important for a researcher to strive to meet these ethical standards. Not only does it promote the integrity of the researcher and their works aim, truth and lack of error but it warrants a duty of care that protects the wellbeing of those being studied. Both can be achieved through key ethical principles including voluntary participation, informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity and the right to withdraw at any time. Protection from physical and mental harm is also key.

    Even when clear ethical principles exist, challenges can still easily occur. Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment (1971) is a primary example that demonstrates how through an unclear consent process and inexact ethical procedures, adverse physical and psychological harm can be caused to individuals. The Facebook emotional manipulation test (Hunter, 2014) was also put under scrutiny with many participants believing their consent was not obtained. Although Facebook claimed that consent was given through users knowingly agreeing to their data use policy, many participants believed this was a form of manipulation. This not only violated the principles of ethics but diminished the truth of the research itself.

    Sometimes risks are a necessary part of research design. However, these examples demonstrate not only the importance to maintain ethical principles to ensure that risk never exceeds humanitarian importance but how this can positively position the integrity and honesty of a researcher within the research process (Patulny, 2017).
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    References
    Habibis, D (2013) ‘Ethics and Social Research’, Chapter 4 in Walter, Maggie (ed.). (2013). Social Research Methods. 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p72-98
    Hunter, D (2014) ‘Consent and ethics in Facebook’s manipulation study.’ The Conversation, 1/7/14

  13. Ethical research is concerned with ensuring that ethical principles and values always govern research involving humans (Walters, 2013) and there are ten key principles of ethical research that were established in the Nuremberg Code.

    1. Voluntary consent
    2. The experiment should be such as yield fruitful results for the good of society
    3. It should be based on previous knowledge that justifies the experiment.
    4. Experiment avoids unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injuries
    5. No risk of death or disabling injury
    6. The risks of the experiment should be in proportion to the expected humanitarian benefits.
    7. Adequate preparation and facilities
    8. Fully trained and scientifically qualified staff
    9. Subjects given freedom to choose when to quit
    10. Medical staff given freedom to choose when to quit

    There are many challenges faced with ethical research, because it is so important to protect the rights and safety of subjects you may not get the results you were hoping for. An example of this could be research into the ice epidemic in Australia which requires you to interview ice users however research subjects may be despondent about their behaviour and refuse to participate which creates roadblocks in your research.

    Another challenge that appeared during ethical research that was discussed in the text was when the researcher needed to seek guidance from the Human Research Ethics Committee during her research and special protocols needed to be put in place. This creates another challenge for the researcher that they must invest time resolving which could be better spent doing actual research.
    References
    Walter, M 2013, Social research methods / Maggie Walter, South Melbourne, Vic. Oxford University Press, 2013.
    “Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10”, Vol. 2, pp. 181-182. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949.]
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  14. Ethics in research may be seen as majorly important to both the participants and researcher, and the study results. Ethical research acts in ensuring that ethical principles and values govern research (Walter, 2013). The power imbalance between the researcher and those being researched, is a major reason why ethics in research is essential (Walter, 2013). Ensuring that the participants feel comfortable and safe at all times while the research is being undertaken, can significantly influence the type and the detail of the results that the researcher is able to obtain (Walter, 2013).

    The principles of ethical research that are concerned with the protection of the participants include: informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality and protection from harm (Walter, 2013). Informed consent refers to the idea that the participants are fully aware of what the research is about and what their participation will involve (Walter, 2013). Anonymity refers to the protection of the participant’s identity (Walter, 2013). Confidentiality is concerned with the idea that the information provided by the participants cannot be traced back to them (Walter, 2013). All of these principles of ethical research contribute to the participants feeling safe and comfortable, and influence them to provide more in-depth and honest responses.

    While ethics in research is important, and may be seen as necessary to the research, it does come with some challenges. Spending a lot of time ensuring that the moral and ethical requirements of the research are met, as stated above, can impact on the researcher’s ability to undertake timely and sufficient projects (Walter, 2013). #S234UOW17 #Lab11 #Wed130b

  15. The main aim of ethical research is to protect the participants and ensure they endure no discomfort or pain during the research. There are several principles that researchers must factor in when conducting research such as obtaining participants informed consent. This is to ensure the freedom of choice remains with the participant, who can freely choose not to participate if they feel uncomfortable in any way. To properly gain consent from a participant, they must be given an information sheet that details the experiment/research being carried out and they must sign it (Walter, 2013). Another key principle involved in ethical research is the anonymity of data collected. When managing data, researchers must be sure to remove identifying material from records, use coding procedures, and dispose of any personal information as soon as possible (Walter, 2013).

    There are many challenges that must be confronted when conducting ethical research. The primary challenge that researchers face is finding middle ground between what the researcher wants and what the participants need (Walter, 2013). One example of this is the researcher wants a minimal missing data from the research, but the participants need the right to refuse any question. Personal safety is another challenge that researchers face when dealing with particularly dangerous activities. These may include interviewing in an unsafe location (i.e. a nightclub or participants home), observation of or involvement in illegal activities, and the psychological impact of researching sensitive or confronting issues (Walter, 2013).

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  16.  
    Within all research, the moral standards known as ethics should be applied and established to ensure to harm comes to the participants’ safety or wellbeing. These ethics should be kept forefront during the entire research process, and further sensitivity should be given to those who fall under vulnerable participant groups, such as children, the elderly, low income earners etc. (Walter, 2015 p. 84).

    In 1949, the Nuremberg Code was established as directives for human experimentation, these guidelines were created after the horrific abuse carried out in WW2 Nazi concentration camps. Researchers follow these guidelines to guarantee that human life and wellbeing is held in the highest regard. To summarise these directives of research conduct, voluntary consent is highly significant for all participants and followed by ensuring that all unnecessary physical/mental injury is avoided (Walter, 2015 p. 75).

    Challenges of consent come into consideration when carrying out covert research, such as Humphreys Tearoom experiment in the 1960’s (Walter, 2015 p. 86). Where many consider the ends justifying the means of the research, Humphreys was still criticised for invading participant’s privacy. This experiment and many others must pay regards to participant anonymity and confidentiality, as this can contribute to the safety and wellbeing of a human. Risks involved in the research must be evaluated and should never exceed humanitarian importance of the research.

    Furthermore, the researcher should be employing qualified persons to assist in the research and the participants can terminate the research at any point if they wish, as well as this the researcher must be prepared to end said research at any stage.

    Ethics committees are in place to ensure human safety during any experiment, and no matter the conflict of interest between participant and researcher, welfare is the main concern.
     
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    Walter, M. (2015). Social research methods. 3rd ed. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

  17. There are 4 key principles concerned with the protection of participants governing ethical research. The first is that of informed consent which involves the provision of information, the capacity to make voluntary choice and the right to withdraw at any time for all participants (NHMRC, 2007). The second and third principle of ethical research is anonymity and confidentiality, which refers to the protection of identification and information of participants to ensure a study cannot link individual responses with participant’s identities. While protection of harm, better referred to as minimising risks, ensures that the risks do not outweigh the potential gains of social research (Habibis, 2013). Moreover, the ethical considerations of the researcher involves the protection of personal well-being, as well as honest reporting and correct acknowledgement of sources in writing up research (Habibis, 2013).
    In following these key principles when conducting social research we can aim to avoid any complications however, potential challenges must always be considered. One of the key challenges of conducting ethical research is conflicts of interest, meaning tensions between needs of the researcher and needs of the participants (Habibis, 2013). For example; researchers want low-cost, fast data collection, whilst participants are concerned with protection from exploitation and having sufficient information to make knowledgeable decisions. Here, ethics must be considered of both that of the researcher and researched (Lecture).
    Habibis, D (2013) ‘Ethics and Social Research’, Chapter 4 in Walter, Maggie (ed.). (2013). Social Research Methods. 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p72-98
    NHMRC (2007). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) – Updated December 2013 (the National Statement), Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

  18. What are the key principles and challenges of ethical research?”
    There are a certain number of key principles that must be adhered to when conducting research. Stuart (2001, p.34) highlights some of the key principles that researchers should follow when conducting research these include, ‘(1) people involved in the research should be protected from physical, emotional and psychological harm or stress, (2) The privacy and confidentiality of research participants should be protected and, (3) people should provide, without coercion, their informed consent to take part in the research’. These ensure that the research being conducted can be done so in a fair and equitable manner. Similarly, there are some challenges associated with ethical research. Martin & Marker (2007, p.2263) point out that, ‘sometimes respondents fail to co-operate fully leading to some missing data’. This extract reflects that in certain situations participants might not co-operate with the research, this could be due to their opinions on the research or due to personal reasons. Whether the reason it leads to data missing. This presents a challenge as researchers cannot force participants to answer if they do not want to. Thus when following ethical principles it can led to missing data.

    Reference list
    Stuart, G 2001, ‘Research ethics and young people’, Youth Studies Australia, Vol. 20 , no. 4 , pp.34-39
    Martin, J & Marker, D 2007, ‘Informed consent: Interpretations and practice on social surveys’, Social science & Medicine, pp. 2260 -2271

  19. Soc234 Blog and Tweet: What are the key principles and challenges of ethical research:

    Ethics are “a system of moral principles that govern individual’s behaviours, interactions and relationships in a specific environment”. Therefore, ethical research must be concerned with maintaining the ethical principles throughout the research process. That is, when working through the research process, an awareness of the limitations of the process is essential. This is important as these principles are aimed at protecting the integrity of the research.

    The key principles of ethical research are outlined by Habibis include: informed voluntary consent, anonymity, confidentiality, the results are to benefit society and the protection from harm.”

    As a result, trying to conduct ethical research through these ethical principles, it becomes inevitable to encounter challenges. These challenges occur at any and all stages of the research process and throughout writing the final report. The principle challenges of conducting ethical research include the element of protection from harm, voluntary informed consent and anonymity. In regards to protection from harm, the “protection” is inclusive of all parties (researcher included) with particular attention needing to be drawn when researching vulnerable groups such as children. This is done so participants health, wellbeing and safety are not compromised. Voluntary informed consent in essential in conducting ethical research. Participants need to be given an information sheet outlining the objectives, themes, risks etc. and then given a consent form so the information gathered can be used. Without doing so, any information gained is lost. In addition to this, the element of anonymity is crucial as it also directly intertwines with the other elements.

    Therefore, in order to conduct ethical research these principles and challenges need to be acknowledged and utilised.

    References:
    Habibis, D. 2013, ‘Ethics and Social Research’, Chapter 4 in Walter, M Social Research Methods. 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, pp. 72 – 94

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  20. Social research inevitably implicates two parties, “the researcher” and “the researched” (Patulny 2017:19). It is extremely important to take into consideration
    that each have their own needs that need to be met and respected upon the conduction of the research. The difficulty lies in that the two don’t always align which can in turn result in conflicts of interest. “Researchers are not ‘disinterested observers motivated by ‘pure’ consideration of knowledge” (Walter 2006:78), in social research the participants are providing themselves as tools in furthering access to knowledge. It is extremely important to not treat them as mere means to an end, the researched, “the key stakeholders” (Walter 2006: 55), must take priority over the needs of the research regardless of how this effects the rapidity or extensiveness of the information needed/collected, humans need to be more valued than information. Ethical principles are intended to insure this.
    Ethics is one of the fundamental basis of research, it must govern the behaviour and choices researchers make. The Nuremberg code was established after the atrocious abuses committed in research conducted during WWII, it set out basic principles, values and norms that were not to be violated when conducting research on human beings, additionally institutional regulations (HREC) have been put into place.
    First and foremost, in all ethical research the informed consent and voluntary participation of the individuals concerned is a necessity. Participants must be sufficiently informed of what their involvement entails and what potential risks it can lead to allowing them to make a comprehensive and informed decision regarding their participation with the possibility to withdraw or limit how and what information is used throughout the research and publication of the research. Lastly, the research must be conducted with the intention of the “results [being] good for society (Patulny 2017:19) with no intention to mentally or physically harm the participants and confidentiality and anonymity guaranteed if desired.

    References:
    Hunter, D. “Consent and ethics in Facebook’s emotional manipulation study”, The Conversation, July 1 2014, Accessed October 10 2017, http://theconversation.com/consent-and-ethics-in-facebooks-emotional-manipulation-study-28596

    Patulny, R. “Lecture 11: Research Ethics”, SOC 234- Social Research Methods, University of Wollongong, 2017.

    Walter, M. “Social Research Methods: an Australian perspective”, Oxford University Press, 2006 pp. 53-82

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  21. Any research conducted must first be ethically sound to ensure the protection of participnants. The Nuremberg code provides a set of 10 guidelines that assist a sociologist in ensuring that the research they are to conduct is ethical. These are:

    1. Voluntary consent
    2. Results good for society
    3. Preceded by animal experimentation or prior knowledge
    4.avoid all unnecessary physical/mental injury
    5. no experiment should risk disability or death
    6. Risk should never exceed humanitarian importance of research
    7.Proper protective preparations and facilities required
    8.should only be conducted by suitably qualified persons
    9. The subject should be able to end the experiment if they can’t go on
    10. Researcher must be prepared to end experiment at any stage.

    To ensure that ethical guidelines are followed, ethical committees are often given the task of ensuring that a proposed research task will cause no harm to participants (Peter 2017). This in itself can prove challenging to the potential researcher as they may have to re-direct their research which can take up hours of time that could have been spent researching. Another issue that Peter (2017) raises is that research ethic committee members distance from the field can often hinder the chances of research being able to be conducted because the committee can be over-protective despite their lack of field work and hard evidence.

    Reference: Peter, E 2017, ‘Recognizing Risk and Vulnerability in Research Ethics: Imagining the “What Ifs?”, Journal of empirical research on human research ethics, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 107-116

  22. Research that is both reliable and respectable will place a huge emphasis on the good, ethical conduct of the research and researcher/s. The Nuremberg Code of 1947 clearly establishes ten key principles essential to good research practice, however there are probably three key objectives to research ethics.
    The first is the protection of all participants. The essential question raised by the Committee on Assessing the System for Protecting Human Research Participants was ‘What protections would a potential participant want in place before and after he or she has consented to be a part of a study?’ (Federeman 2003: 46). Ultimately, this question should be broadened to include the protection of the researchers and all participants involved. All participants should not only voluntarily consent, but also know they are free to refuse participation within the study with no fear of coercion. The reality: the level of protection given to the participants is determined by the researcher who should (a) be well trained and qualified, (b) give explicit information prior to the study regarding potential risks and (c) provide adequate (and fast) support or help service should participants require them.
    One of the key elements of participant protection is that they encounter no hamr, this is true in both the physical/health sense, but also in the questions that are posed to them. De Vause explains that there are questions, however unintentional they may be, that will cause distress and embarrassment therefore resulting in psychological harm (2014: 61). Researchers therefore should take careful consideration in discussing sensitive topics, posing sensitive questions and identity not only groups, but individuals who may be at risk of psychological harm.

  23. When conducting research, it is important that all researchers abide by ethical conduct before conducting any data collection. Ethical conduct is the conduct undertaken when running any type of research, which requires you to take a risk assessment of any potential harms your study may bring to anyone involved. Most often, researchers will have to weigh the cost to benefits, while acting within standards that are morally correct (Walter, 2013).

    However, more than often a researcher may have to conduct research on vulnerable populations. vulnerable populations include; youth, criminals, women, ethnic minorities and the sick (Walter, 2013). It is important to follow ethical principles to avoid any harm to these groups. These principles include; 1. voluntary consent, making sure they agree to participate and ensure you are not pressuring them. 2. Results good for society- make sure that research is worthwhile and not pointless. 3. Avoid all unnecessary physical/mental injury. 4. Ensure that you do not conduct any experiment risking disability or death. 5. That proper protective preparations and facilities are provided. 6. The experiment should only be conducted by a qualified person. Last but not least, the participant has the right to exit the study at any time (week 11 lecture).

    An example of challenges you may face as a researcher is; touching on a private topic in which vulnerable populations may find to confronting and cause either physical or mental damage or discomfort. Following these guidelines will ensure your study will be conducted in an ethical and safe manner without risk of harm to any participants in the study.

    References:

    – Walter, M (2013) “The Foundations of Good Social Science Research” Chapter 1 in Walter, Maggie (ed.) (2013) Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p3-24
    – Week 11 lectures. 2017. UOW.

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  24. Ethics is a foundational concept required in all research and aims to ensure the protection of
    participants in areas such as anonymity and confidentiality (O’Leary, 2004). The key principles of ethics are based around this notion of protection and are created to avoid the exploitation of participants. Guillemin and Gillam suggest there are two ‘major dimensions’ of all research. The first, being procedural ethics, which is defined as ‘seeking of approval from a relevant ethics committee to undertake research involving humans’, and the second being ethics in practice, which involves ‘the everyday ethical issues that arise in the doing of research’. Although the concepts of ethics sound simple, there are challenges which can potentially arise throughout research and confront these concepts. An example of this is risk of harm., which is defined as ‘ the likelihood that an individual may suffer physical, psychological or emotional harm as a result of what is done’ (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2009). Researchers have great responsibility and are required to make rational choices and decide whether or not the benefits of the particular research outweigh the potential harm which may be caused to a participant. Orb, Eisenhauer and Wynaden (2000) use the example of a victim of violence when explaining this process which may be encountered in research. ‘The interview may trigger painful experiences and the participant may become distressed, therefore the researcher is confronted with an ethical dilemma’. This clearly explains the challenges involved with the key principles of ethical research.

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    References:
    Department of Education and Training, 2009, ‘Report indications of possible risk of harm’, viewed on 18th October 2017

    M. Guillemin et al, 2004, ‘Ethics, Reflexivity and Ethically Important Moments in Research’, Qualitative Inquiry, vol.10, pp.261-280

    Z. O’Leary, 2004, ‘The essential guide to doing research’, Sage Publications, London

    A.Orb et al, 2001, ‘Ethics in Qualitative Research’, Profession and Society, vol.33, no.1, pp.93-96

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