Becoming an ethical researcher
Becoming an ethical researcher

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Becoming an ethical researcher

5 Choices, resilience and respect in practice

Described image
Figure 10 Returning to think about how being virtuous involves making active choices about what not to do

Part of applying principles in practice and making ethical choices means being resilient. For example, researchers often see adapting to challenges as a way to learn and reflect on their earlier assumptions that can help them to make changes for the better. Sharing and writing up reflections on unexpected events in a transparent way can be helpful for other researchers and also demonstrates honesty and sincerity. By dealing with changes as well as they can, researchers also build up resilience and maintain respect.

Although some of the examples in this session have included choices faced in extreme situations of pandemic and arrest, hopefully any unexpected research changes you encounter will be far more manageable.

Activity 10 Making a choice

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

Read some summaries of stories shared by Open University researchers of choices they made whilst conducting research. Decide which choice you think the researcher made based on becoming an ethical researcher.

Think about the choices the researchers took and how they decided what was the best approach to show respect and integrity in their particular context.

Researcher situation: Researcher choice: A or B?
1. Kieron’s research in Indonesia involved filming in classrooms. On one occasion, some children whose parents had not given permission for them to be filmed were accidentally included in the recording

A. Delete the footage with children where there was no permission

B. Continue filming for data collection but don’t show the footage to anyone

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2. Liz and Alison’s research workshop in Zimbabwe had age guidance. A young woman with profound disabilities arrived with her carer, who was outside the age range expected

A. Include the young woman (not send home with book )

B. Regrettably send the young woman home with a book about the project

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3. Kieron wanted to find out attitudes to teaching disabled children. How could he approach such a sensitive subject?

A. Interview a senior government official with many years’ experience

B. Design a carefully worded questionnaire with quantitative analysis

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4. Liz and Alison and partners led a workshop exploring emotive themes of personal turning points. The young women made films. Who should decide who would see the films?

A. The funders select the best stories to illustrate the research themes as a powerful means of dissemination

B. The young women choose whether or not to share their films and which audiences view them, and have the right to change their minds

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Answer

Situation 1 – A. Delete the footage with children where there was no permission.

Situation 2 – B. Regrettably send the young woman home with a book about the project.

Situation 3 – B. Design a carefully worded questionnaire with quantitative analysis.

Situation 4 – B. The young women choose whether or not to share their films and which audiences view them, and have the right to change their minds.

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