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The ethical conduct of research Jo Ferrie Interim Director of Graduate Training.

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1 The ethical conduct of research Jo Ferrie Interim Director of Graduate Training

2 What research does it cover All research involving human participants or human data or material. Applies whether research is funded or not Does not apply where the information about human subjects is publicly and lawfully available (e.g. Census, published diaries etc.)

3 Important principles Dignity, rights & well-being of participants Dignity, rights and well-being of researcher Anonymity Confidentiality Informed, valid consent Institutional reputation / external agencies

4 working with children & vulnerable groups Research involving children or people in vulnerable groups requires particular care. The consent of the child should be sought in addition to that of the parent. Researchers should use their skills to provide information that could be understood by the child...’ (BSA, 2002)

5 Benefits & burdens... Medical research involving a disadvantaged or vulnerable population or community is only justified if the research is responsive to the health needs and priorities of this population or community and if there is a reasonable likelihood that this population or community stands to benefit from the results of the research. (World Medical Assoc, 2000) WMA Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects

6 Why are you undertaking the research? Why is it important that the research takes place? (not because you ‘have to’) What will participants gain?

7 Participant’s welfare The essential principle is that the investigation should be considered from the standpoint of all participants; foreseeable threats to their psychological well-being, health, values or dignity should be eliminated. (BPS, 2000) British Psychological Society

8 ‘Good’ research(?) Enabling improvement Pursuit of knowledge Robert S. Broadhead (1984) ‘Human rights and human subjects: Ethics and strategies in social science research’ in Sociological Enquiry Vol.54 (2) –http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/ /j X.1984.tb00051.x/pdfhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/ /j X.1984.tb00051.x/pdf –Predates many university ethics boards so very interesting historical insight into the debates and concerns

9 Issues for research: Applicants should: –Ensure research is seen as relevant and worthwhile –Make clear why they are proposing the research and what they intend to do –Think carefully about responsibilities –Ensure clear communication to all parties

10 Dissemination of results [researchers] should clarify...the extent to which research participants are allowed to see transcripts...and field notes, and to alter the content, withdraw statements, to provide additional information...Where possible, participants should be offered feedback on findings...(BSA)

11 Confidentiality & Privacy & Informed Consent The anonymity and privacy of those who participate in the research process should be respected. Personal information concerning research participants should be kept confidential. In some cases it may be necessary to decide whether it is proper or appropriate even to record certain kinds of sensitive information.(BPS) Where anonymity etc cannot be guaranteed, this needs making clear from the outset Participants must give their informed consent to taking part in the research (there may be exceptions(?))

12 Consent and your pals Finding a sample can be tricky. You may know/work with/socialise with/ volunteer with the perfect participant. There are benefits and risks in recruiting from your own networks. Benefits: they fit your sample, there’s already a rapport, they’re likely to say yes, if doing an interview, it is more like a conversation Risks: They don’t feel they can say no, they miss out loads of relevant detail because they know you already know it, they don’t treat it seriously, it can change relationships (particularly if they see your written work and analysis), you bring in ‘evidence’ not in your data. And I’ll say it again for emphasis, they don’t feel they can say no! 12

13 Issues around breaking confidentiality Statement on Confidentiality The University is committed to rigorous and objective inquiry and supports academics in pursuing their research in an environment that affirms academic freedom. The University also acknowledges the importance of confidentiality as a guiding principle in research. (Pg. 16) Obligations of the researcher may require you to disclose information involving a crime,or where the welfare of a child is of concern. If you’re concerned that you’ve been told information in an interview, you should, professional, and with sensitivity, end the interview. So who should you disclose to? Your supervisor. 13

14 The process... College ethics procedure: /ethics/http://www.gla.ac.uk/colleges/socialsciences/info/students /ethics/

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23 College of Social Sciences postgraduate research students social event Friday 20th Sep, Gilchrist Postgraduate Club 4-6pm seminar room with beer, wine and nibbles plus free vouchers for the Gilchrist beerfest which follows directly afterwards!


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