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Negotiating access and research ethics

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1 Negotiating access and research ethics
Lecture 8 Professional development and research Lecturer: R. Milyankova

2 Objectives of the session:
Be aware of the issues related to gaining access and research ethics Be able to evaluate a range of strategies to help you to gain access to participants and individual participants Be able to anticipate ethical issues at each stage of your research process To evaluate ethical issues associated with particular data collection methods, so that you can consider these in relation to your proposed research methods

3 Physical access or entry
1. Organizations and individuals may not be prepared to engage in additional, voluntary activities because of time and resources required 2. The request may fail to interest the person who receives it: Lack of value in relation to the work of the person or organization Nature of the topic – too sensitive for the person/organization Perceptions about your credibility and doubts about your competence 3. External events may prevent the participation – sometimes “false start”

4 Access as a continuing process
It is and iterative process You have to repeat the process of data collection in different parts of the organization The people from whom you wish to collect data may be different from those who considered and agreed your request for success Depends on your ability to select a representative sample of participants (secondary data)

5 Access as a cognitive process
The participants must understand their social reality The feasibility will determine the construction or refinement of your research questions and objectives Is influenced by your status as an: - external researcher. Demonstrate competence, integrity, show benefits - internal (participant) researcher. No problems with physical access. Also problems with access to data

6 Strategies to gain access
1. Allowing yourself sufficient time Arranging access may take weeks or even months to arrange, especially in unknown organizations, so look for a known contact Select properly the methods for research in order to be less time consuming! 2. Using existing contacts and developing new ones Existing contacts = friend, relative, student, course advisors, external examiners Choice of research strategy – small, purposely selected samples This approach is suitable for case-study research strategy and non-probability sampling Develop new contacts – directly or indirectly Find the broker or a gate-keeper – personnel manager is mostly suitable or functional/Line manager

7 Strategies to gain access
3. Providing a clear account or purpose and type of access required Give full information about the topic, time and expectations of the research in your Introductory letter requesting access (use short and clear sentences, be polite, seek to generate interest) Establish your credibility, show them you clearly understand the research 4. Overcoming organizational concerns about granting of access a/ concerns about time or resources involved – should be kept to a minimum b/ sensitivity about the topic – organizations do not normally wish to present themselves in a bad light c/ confidentiality and anonymity

8 Strategies to gain access
5. Possible benefits to the organization of granting you access Level of applicability to the jobs in the company Does your research topic provide some advantage Offer a report of your findings, specially designed Think about a simple contract what would be realistic to supply to those who grant the success 6. Using suitable language “Learn from experience” instead of ”research” “Conversation” instead of “interview” “Write an account” instead of “publish” “researcher” will have greater credibility than “student”

9 Strategies to gain access
7. Facilitating ease of reply when requesting access Pro forma to facilitate replies Inclusion of freepost address envelope, a fax-number or address may facilitate reply 8. Developing your access on an incremental basis – three stage strategy a/ request to conduct interviews b/ negotiating access to undertake observations c/ gaining permission to tape-record the interactions being observed N.B. This method is time consuming and you have to consider the time for the research

10 Strategies to gain access
9. Establishing your credibility with intended participants Gaining cooperation from the intended participants is a matter of developing relationship State how you believe they will be able to help your study Share with them the purpose Declare confidentiality and anonymity Talk to them individually or in a group If the methods used by you seem to be intrusive, exercise even greater care

11 Checklist to help to gain access
Allow yourself plenty of time Consider using existing contacts at least at the start of your research project Consider your work placement organization as a case study setting for your research project Approach appropriate local/national employer or employee, professional or trade bodies to see if they can suggest contacts Consider making a direct approach to an organization to identify the most appropriate person to contact for access Invest sufficient time to contact this person, be prepared for a number of telephone calls Maintain politeness at all times Confirm your requirements in written although you already had a telephone call Demonstrate clarity of thought to establish your credibility, outline the purpose of your research project

12 Checklist to help to gain access
The construction, tone and presentation of an introductory letter will assist the establishment of your credibility Consider organizational concerns relating to the amount of time or resources, confidentiality and anonymity Consider possible benefits of the organization Exercise care and attention in your language, do not sound boring or threatening Include a simple pro forma for recipients to use as a means to reply Be prepared to attend a meeting to present and discuss your request Work through organizational gatekeepers Develop your access in incremental basis

13 Research ethics Ethics refers to the appropriateness of your behaviour in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your research or are affected by it Ethics is a code of behaviour Ethics is affected by broader social norms of behaviour Social norm indicates the type of behaviour ought to adopt in a particular situation Code of ethics = statement of principles and procedures for the conduct of your research: The Social Research Association’s Ethical Guidelines (2002) British Psychological Society’s Code of Conduct American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct The British Sociological Association's Statement for Ethical Practice

14 Nature and scope of ethical issues
Ethical issues that affect the research process generally Privacy of possible and actual participants Voluntary nature of participation and the right to withdraw partially or completely from the process Confidentiality of data provided y individuals and their anonymity Reaction of participants to the way in which you seek to collect data Effect on participants of the way in which you use, analyze and report your data Behaviour and objectivity of the researcher

15 Nature and scope of ethical issues
Privacy is significant Power relationship in business and management research Harassment of any kind Netiquette Consider the applicability if Internet as a means to collect data

16 Nature and scope of ethical issues
2. Ethical issues during he design and initial access stages Take care of the Law for private data Take care how you obtain and use secondary data If somebody agrees to participate in the research it does not mean that he agrees about the way you discuss the data received

17 Implied consent Participant does not fully understand his/her rights Researcher implies consent about use of access or return of questionnaire Informed consent Participant consent given freely and on the basis on full information about participation rights and use of data Lack of consent Participant lacks knowledge Researcher uses deception to collect data

18 Nature and scope of ethical issues
3. Ethical issues during the data collection stage Right to privacy Netiquette Confidentiality and anonymity No chat rooms with the results Careful with the observations – be objective and not subjective Habituation Debriefing

19 Nature and scope of ethical issues
4. Data protection and research Process personal data fairly and lawfully Accurate and keep up-to-date Keep securely Do not transfer outside the country

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