Discussion and Results Chapter: Ethics in Educational Research Personal Definition

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Ethics in Educational Research

Personal definition of ethics

On a personal level, I believe that ethics entails doing all in one's power to maintain a good relationship with other human beings. This is particularly important in academic research, where the ultimate aim is generally to benefit humanity, either in terms of increased understanding or in terms of better service delivery, health effects or some other direct influence. If a proper ethical approach is however not followed to obtain these results, I believe that the research should not be conducted in the first place, regardless of how much benefit it could have for humanity. McMillan and Schumacher (2006, p. 142) appear to disagree with me in this regard, in maintaining that if the benefit to humanity is weighed at a significantly higher level than the cost to the research population, a researcher's decision to proceed would be acceptable. On a personal level, I would not do this.

Ethical dilemmas are however part and parcel of human life. It simply is not always possible to make a decision that ensures no harm to everyone. In such cases, I believe that the best course of action is the one that would ensure at least minimal harm if no harm cannot be guaranteed.

In general, I believe the best ethical approach in any situation is honesty. Both in life, business and academia, honesty is usually, to use the cliche, the best policy. Once again this can be related to research where results would only be valid if certain information is withheld from the subjects of the research. If participants are not harmed by the lack of disclosure, I would not have a problem being involved in such research. If there is potential harm, I would disclose that certain information may be withheld for the purpose of the study, and that this may harm participants, upon which they may choose to terminate their participation. On the other hand, if the potential harm is significant, I may choose to terminate the study altogether.

Because both research and education are such significant parts of human life, I believe that ethics play a most important role in education research. Such research is conducted to improve the educational experience for both professionals in the field and learners. Because of the many persons involved in the field, I believe a strong code of ethics is vital for conducted such research.


The role of ethics in educational research

Ethics would play the most significant part in qualitative educational research designs, and particularly in interactive qualitative methods, as delineated by McMillan and Schumacher (2006, p. 26). Interactive research methods mean that a group of individuals are used as representative of a population in the study design.

The researcher should be familiar with the ethical considerations surrounding the issues that he… [END OF PREVIEW]

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