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Becoming an ethical researcher
Becoming an ethical researcher

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1 Being held accountable

Described image
Figure 2 What does successful undertaking of research look like?

Being called to account or held accountable can be defined as:

to answer for responsibilities and conduct; required or expected to justify one's actions, decisions, etc.; answerable, responsible

(, 2020).

In terms of research, this means researchers need to be aware:

  • of their responsibilities – both in terms of what is required of them (things they must do) and what is expected of them (things others think they should do)
  • that their conduct and behaviour is a key measure by which others are likely to judge their success in meeting their responsibilities
  • that they should be prepared to justify their decision-making.

Having identified that there are a range of stakeholders to whom the researcher will be responsible and accountable, it is also evident that researchers themselves will have their own expectations and hopes for the research. This means that the success of the research could be measured in different ways, which might lead to tensions as the research proceeds. Differences will depend on the agendas, interests and assumptions of others mediated by their knowledge and understanding of the research being planned.