The Student's Guide to Research Ethics

The Student's Guide to Research Ethics

The Student's Guide to Research Ethics

The Student's Guide to Research Ethics


"This compact book is intended as a practical guide for students involved in research, and it fulfils that goal well.... The chapter on 'The funding and sponsorship of research' is an excellent example of the author's willingness and ability to include relevant, sensitive and practical content that is often left out of texts on ethics.... This is an easy book to read, it is concise and keeps to relevant content.... It would make an excellent text for a course in research ethics and/or research methods, and it will also provide an excellent planning and self-review guide for a practising researcher." Higher Education Review

"The book is aimed primarily at higher education students in education and the social sciences who are conducting a (typically small scale) research project. That is not to say that the publication is of little value to the supervisors of such projects or to experienced researchers as a resource....the successful integration of a wide range of theoretical perspectives on ethics in the text is... one of the main accomplishments of this publication" RTI Resource Centre

This essential guide examines the ethical issues and questions which occur in university and professional research. The book helps both beginning and experienced researchers to identify ethical issues when they are conducting research, and attempt to resolve those issues.

• Examines ethical issues which arise throughout research, from the design stage through to data collection and analysis

• Investigates topical issues including consent, confidentiality, ethical questions in the dissemination of research

• Discusses ethical theories and how these may be applied towards resolving ethical problems

• Provides examples of ethical dilemmas and case studies throughout the text

Insightful, wide-ranging and accessible, this guide is an invaluable tool for both undergraduate and postgraduate students and professionals who research as part of their jobs.


Research in the social sciences is often concerned with collecting data from people. Almost inevitably this raises questions about the way in which people who provide data should be treated by researchers, and such questions are often ethical in nature. The research community is becoming increasingly more sophisticated in the manner in which it considers such ethical issues, and there appears to be a growing concern with the ethical dimension of planning and implementing research.

This book tries to explore such issues as they occur throughout the research process. It is intended to be of use to higher education students in education and the social sciences, who are conducting a research project. It is hoped that it will be of particular help to postgraduate students with their theses, and also as a resource for lecturers. The book includes a number of fictional 'ethical dilemmas' and 'ethical dialogues' to indicate the contextual nature of ethical issues. In addition, a range of theoretical perspectives are integrated with the text, in order to explore how these may illuminate ethical problems in research.

Some terminological issues: participants, subjects
or respondents?

When I am advising my own students on writing up their research, one of my standard pieces of advice is, 'make certain you define your terms'. As subject areas, both ethics and research contain some potentially complex concepts, and much of this book will be concerned with trying to clarify them. Perhaps we can start with one or two commonly used terms in research.

Social science research data may exist in a variety of forms. The data may be collected directly as during an interview, or while observing a group of people. Alternatively, the data may consist of artefacts produced by people, such as a diary or, perhaps more unconventionally, the contents of a waste bin . . .

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