Understanding the Significance of Research Ethics

Introduction

Research ethics is the behaviour which are standard and which guides the moral choices concerning the researcher’s relationship with others as well as behaviour. (Thornhill et al. 2009). Research ethics is based on the way researchers clarifies a study topic, formulates the study questions, gain access, design the research, collects data as well as the mode of results presentation (Thornhill et al. 2009). There are various reasons why research ethics must be agreed to. For instance, the perception of the public as well as the credibility of the scientific community to assess new results firmly is based on the authenticity of the outcome of the research. Moreover, from the nature of research which is competitive, it is very challenging for researchers to report pioneered and unique studies hence ethics becoming too important. Ethics in research need to be formulated as principles, other than some prescriptions and instructions. These formulated principles should be taken as a reminder of what ought to be considered. Today, there is an increasing need to control research’s conduct. It should also be noted that ethics in research is related to the way in which scholar’s perceive study’s participants. Moreover, ethics strengthen research quality. This paper discusses the reasons why ethics are important in research.

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Importance of Research Ethics

Ethics in research are essential since they advocate for avoidance of harm. In most cases, many research norms promote other significant social and moral values like human right, social responsibility, and compliance with legislation, animal welfare as well as public health and safety. This is an indication that failure to follow norms in research can significantly cause harm to the animal and human participants, the public and students. Ritchie et al., (2013) reveal that, ethics in research protects both the entire community as well as study participants hence complying with ethics promotes the reliability and quality of the data generated. For instance, fabricated data obtained in research can cause death in a clinical trial or even cause harm to patients. Moreover, during data collection, an unruly researcher may also conduct unethical research, therefore, creating harm to the environment and society hence research ethics being very critical.

Research relies on the support of the society; therefore, observing ethical considerations increases the likelihood and ease of acquiring sponsorship. Other scholars suggest that research can be sponsored by either an organisation, institute or even commercial group. The study also suggest that, for the past decades research has been funded by private industry. This is an indication of the symbiotic relationship which exist between the community and researchers to benefit both parties. I.e. Researcher are funded while the community/company gains from the expertise of the researchers. However, other studies suggest that, for sponsorship to be given by the community/organisation, a researcher must proof that, their research is ethical, have little or no harm to the community though with maximum benefits in respect to individual privacy, dignity, as well as autonomy (Thornhill et al. 2009).

Moreover, ethics in research eradicates the conflict of interest between the study participants and researchers which creates social and academician’s reliable and accurate information. Currently, the interconnectedness of external industry and academic studies has made studies prone to conflicts of interest. The conflict has the ability to undermine scientific research integrity and it is even a threat to the public trust a study’s outcomes. Moral disengagement operations are some of the contributors to conflict of interest in research. Moreover, the study indicates that research sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry were most likely to generate results favouring the sponsor other than the community. For instance, a study conducted by Dr Andrew Wakefield et al., in 1998 which showed ability of mumps, measles as well as rubella vaccine to cause autism had misrepresented data resulting in the cancellation of the research.

This results resulted in a worldwide vaccine scare which has continued even today. To proof this, studies show that Britain had a severe measles outbreaks which were perceived to be as a results of the failure of parents to vaccinate their children after the Dr Andrew's publication. This, therefore, indicates the significance of ethics in research (Thornhill et al. 2009).

Moreover, ethics in research enhances valuable practices for cooperative work. Research requires the coordination and cooperation of diverse disciplines, standards, people institutions which should be ethical to promote collaborative efforts. Ethics as per a study published in the University of Nairobi suggest that, should have mutual respect, trust, fairness and accountability (Thornhill et al. 2009). This indicates that the researchers must abide by the guidelines linked to the patenting policies, authorship, data sharing policies, copyright as well as confidentiality rules in peer review. Therefore, it is suggested that it is the responsibility of every researcher participation in a study to adhere and familiarise themselves with the ethical code before the start of every project. The study also suggests that ethics must be observed in writing from the research proposals to the theses among other academic writings.

Besides, ethics from the study title and the formulated study questions promotes enhances new research knowledge. Additionally, scholars face ethical problems in all study stages. This means the design of the study to the discussion of the results and conclusion. Some of the ethical difficulties include confidentiality, anonymity, informed consent, and the scholars' effects on the participants. It is hence necessitating the ethical consideration in research.

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Conclusion

Most institution and sponsors only aim to fund scholars who are socially responsible and who are trustworthy researchers, which forces researchers to act ethically. This indicates the importance of ethics as part of research in protecting participants, promoting the reliability and accuracy of a research results, and promoting responsible practices in the community. Generally, ethics can be essential in avoiding some of the challenges and legal issues associated with research, therefore crucial to an individual as well as the community.

References

Birley, G. and Moreland, N., 2014. A practical guide to academic research. Routledge.

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C.M. and Ormston, R. eds., 2013. Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers. sage.

Thornhill, A., Saunders, M. and Lewis, P., 2009. Research methods for business students. Prentice Hall: London.


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