Research ethics is essential in research endeavors and necessitates that researchers preserve the dignity of their respondents and facilitate the proper publication of their research. Since this research will focus on the perceptions of human subjects, various ethical concerns must be prioritized before undertaking the research. Issues pertaining to the fabrication of data will be avoided. The publication will include peer-reviewed journals or scholarly materials that are mandatory in academic advancement, especially in higher learning institutions. The supervisors of the research will be included in the study report, and their efforts will be acknowledged. Reviewers’ comments will be strictly adhered to. Since research requires cooperation and coordination among diverse individuals and disciplines as well as institutions, ethical standards will be incorporated to foster collaborative efforts (Akaranga & Makau, 2016). Values such as accountability, fairness, trust, and mutual respect will be crucial throughout the research process. The researcher will ensure adherence to copyright guidelines, data sharing policies, and patenting policies. Ethical concerns related to study respondents will also be managed. Issues regarding the confidentiality of participants, as well as their anonymity, will be assured. Moreover, any forms of deception will not be tolerated, and the researcher will have to inform respondents about all that will be contained in the study before they are allowed to participate. The study subjects will require to be informed concerning the potential risks of the study as well as the anticipated benefits. This will be done to facilitate the welfare of the study participants. All study participants will be required to provide informed consent before participating in the study. None of the participants will be forced to participate in the study. The researcher must assert the significance of allowing consent to the subjects and design a project that will not infringe on the safety and rights of the respondents.
Ethical Issues If the Risk to Participants Is Greater Than Minimal
The minimization of respondents’ financial costs will be addressed by ensuring they provide consent prior to undertaking the study. If the study predisposes a sample of respondents to either social or legal risk, they will be required to consent before participating in the research. The researcher will assert that all components of the study are clarified to the participants before they engage. Participants will be allowed to withdraw their participation if they realize incompatibilities if they happen to be involved in the study even if they had initially accepted to participate. The study will be conducted with the intent of disseminating information and not being constrained to achieve certain conclusions or stipulating certain courses of action. There will be no physical harm to the subjects as the research will only focus on the opinions and perceptions of the subjects. Respondents will be required to provide their consent in order to reduce incidences of psychological risks. If participants perceive that several questions may happen to trigger episodes of depression or stress, they will be required to withdraw from participation. The researcher will further ensure that ethical challenges are addressed by assessing the probable benefits of the study, determining the risks and minimizing them, and assuring that potential respondents will be offered with a precise description of the anticipated risks and benefits.
How Confidentially or Anonymity Will Be Achieved
The confidentiality concept is underpinned by the code of respect for autonomy and implies that information collected during research processes should not be disclosed without consent. Alternatively, anonymity refers to the collection of data without receiving any individual information. First, as the researcher, I will need to be aware of the significance of confidentiality and anonymity of participants’ information. In order to ensure confidentiality, the researcher will require to implement doctrines of maintaining commitments and fostering the privacy of information. The researcher will ensure that the relationship with participants is valued by establishing sincere and reciprocated relationships with participants. Adherence to ethical guidelines, including the necessity of respondents’ confidentiality and the imperative of receiving consent as well as non-maleficence, will be prioritized prior to undertaking the research. At the commencement of the data collection process, respondents will be advised against sharing any information with other individuals, including other participants, to protect their identities (Petrova, Dewing, & Camilleri, 2016).During data analysis and storage, confidentiality will be ensured as only the researcher will have access to the data records (Wiles. During data reporting, all identifying information will be omitted in the final report. The use of codes will be integrated to ensure that respondents’ identities are maintained. Further, the researcher will secure any data devices that may be required and securely dispose of any records after their use. Data will be encrypted at multiple phases of the research process through a selection of hardware and software packages. Participants anonymity’ will be ensured through avoiding the use of identifying information such as participants’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, or account numbers.
How Data Will Be Stored In Accordance With IRB Requirements
All study materials comprising data and consent material will be stored in the personal account. Electronic data will be stored only on encrypted or password-protected storage media( “IRB Data Management Security Tips”, 2020). Computer systems should switched off when not in use and the researcher should make regular back-ups of data. The researcher willstore all confidential documents.Any copies of electronic data will be maintained at an absolute minimum and in case various personnel require access to the information, they will need to obtain the content from a central secure storage media such as a personal account. The electronic data will not be sent through email and if it is mandatory that the process is employed, then the document will have to be de-identified. These de-identified data sets could be utilized for assessment purposes, even outside the learning institution. The researcher will assert that all information, whether electronic or physical data, will be stored separately from the master code key. After data analysis and organization, the master code key will be destroyed. However, if it is necessary to store the master code key, a comprehensive rationale will be offered to the IRB. The procedures involved in the destruction of these keys will be included in the research. Data files that will be stored will constitute the data itself and an ID code. Data, master code key, and consent materials will be stored separately. When storing data, all documentation about human respondents will be stored according to IRB-approved protocol and access will be limited to persons acknowledged in the approved protocol with permission to access the data. The research and consent forms will be securely stored for a minimum of three years after study completion. At this point, it will be mandatory that the master code key is destroyed.
Researcher’s Role and Potential Biases
When conducting research, the researcher has a multiplicity of roles, frequently performed simultaneously. The researcher’s role will encompass; the collection and analysis of data under study, protecting the respondents’ identities, communicating the findings of the study and exploiting information for the benefit of the target group and society. While undertaking the research, the researcher is likely to encounter potential biases that may disrupt the study’s progress. To address potential biases, the researcher will first identify them to determine the appropriate measures to be implemented. Participant bias and researcher bias will require to be addressed. Participant bias involves the acquiescence bias, habituation bias, sponsor bias, and social desirability. To prevent social desirability and acquiescence bias, the researcher will ensure the confidentiality of the participants. The questions will be designed in a manner that the respondents feel accepted; they will mainly incorporate the open-ended format so that subjects will have the capability to propose their views as opposed to only agreeing or disagreeing. Additionally, there will be a diverse set of engaging questions. The questions will be worded differently in order to reduce habituation bias. The researcher will not mention any details regarding the sponsor of the study in order to avoid sponsor bias. Researcher bias constitutes confirmation bias and question-order bias. The researcher will ensure that confirmation bias is managed through assessing all the data obtained without bias and by constantly re-examining participants’ responses, and ascertaining that pre-existing assumptions are managed at minimal. Question-order bias will be addressed through the critical assessment of potential biases that may arise while formulating the questions and the determination of appropriate questions(Shah, 2019). This will be achieved by the researcher asking general questions about the subject matter before delving into more sensitive questions.
Akaranga, S. I., & Makau, B. K. (2016). Ethical Considerations and their Applications to Research: a Case of the University of Nairobi. Journal of educational policy and entrepreneurial research, 3(12), 1-9.
IRB Data Management Security Tips. (2020). Retrieved 20 June 2020, from http://research.fiu.edu/irb/data-management-sec
Petrova, E., Dewing, J., & Camilleri, M. (2016). Confidentiality in participatory research: Challenges from one study. Nursing ethics, 23(4), 442-454.
Shah, S. (2019). 7 Biases to avoid in qualitative research. Retrieved 20 June 2020, from https://www.editage.com/insights/7-biases-to-avoid-in-qualitative-research.