Research Ethics and Principles

By Prof. Fazal Rehman Shamil
Last modified on March 3rd, 2022

Research Ethics and Principles

Research ethics definition: Research ethics are the rules that guide us that how can we conduct our research. These moral principles guide the researchers to report the research without any deception and or intention to harm the members of the society or participants of the study. To establish the reliability and validity of the research, practicing ethical guidelines are crucial while conducting and reporting the research. Research ethics create a sense of responsibility in researchers. 

Objectives of research ethics

Following are the key objectives of research ethics:

  1. To guard human participants, their rights, welfare, and dignity.
  2. To make the research good enough that can assist welfares of the groups, persons, and, the entire civilization.
  3. To examine specific research schemes and events for their ethical reliability.

Principles of research ethics

Some principles of research ethics are as under:

  • Honesty

Honesty in research is the core principle in research ethics. You should be honest in the methodology, procedures, reporting data, findings, and publication status of the research. You should also be honest with the stakeholders of the research. Never deceive the public, research sponsors, and colleagues. 

  • Objectivity

You should be objective and unbiased in data analysis, experimental design, peer review, data interpretation, personnel decisions, expert testimony, grant writing, or other aspects of research. Avoid self-deception or bias.

  • Integrity

Keep your agreements and promises and act with sincerity. There should be consistency in your thought and action. Don’t make false expectations or false promises.

  • Carefulness

Avoid careless negligence and errors. Critically and carefully examine your work. Keep records of your research activities like research design, data collection, and correspondence with journals and agencies.

  • Openness

Share your data, ideas, tools, results, and resources with others. Always accept criticism and get new ideas.

  • Intellectual property

The researcher must honor copyrights tights, patents, and forms of intellectual property. Never use unpublished data, results, or methods without permission. If you use any quote, must cite it. It is strictly restricted to plagiarizing any material.

  • Accountability

While conducting the research, you should take responsibility for your work. Prepare yourself for an account like justification or explanation about what you did and why.

  • Responsible publication

Publish your findings to advance scholarship and scientific research, not just your career. Moreover, the researchers should publish the data responsibly. Never publish duplicate and wasteful material.

  • Confidentiality

The researchers should save confidential communications and information like articles presented for publication, use of research, their role in research, the procedure of research, objectives of the research, military or professional secrets, records of employees, the records of patients, and personnel records.

  • Responsible mentoring

The researchers should help the students by educating, guiding, mentoring, and advising them to promote their welfare and well-being. Let them make their decisions. 

  • Social responsibility

The researcher must fulfill his social responsibility and promote the welfare of people. He should prevent or at least reduce social harm through his research, support, and public education.

  • Respect for colleagues

The researchers must respect their colleagues. They should deal with them fairly and honestly. Never degrade or deceive them. 

  • Competence

As a researcher, you should improve and maintain professional competence through learning. You should promote competence in science.

  • Non-discrimination

Always avoid discrimination of age, race, sex, ethnicity, and other factors that violate human rights and are irrelevant to scientific integrity and competence.

  • Animal care

If you are researching animals, take proper care of them. Never conduct poorly designed and unnecessary animal experiments. Give them respect and comfort and never harm them.

  • Legality

While researching any topic, you must know its relevant laws and governmental and institutional policies. You must obey all the laws and policies.

  • Human subjects protection

If you are researching human subjects, avoid harm and risks. Respect their privacy, dignity, and independence. Try to maximize their benefits. If the population is vulnerable, then you must take certain precautions.

  • Justice

Treat everyone with justification. Distribute burdens and benefits equally. 

Conclusion

To conclude, we can say that although the codes, principles, and policies are useful and a researcher must follow them. But sometimes these rules don’t cover all the situations and often conflict. So, they need a considerable interpretation. It is better for the researchers to first learn how to interpret and apply certain rules in research. They should also learn how to act ethically and make the right decisions in particular situations.

Topics Covered

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