Ethical Considerations can be specified as one of the most important parts of the research. Dissertations may even be doomed to failure if this part is missing.
According to Bryman and Bell (2007) the following ten principles of ethical considerations have been compiled as a result of analysing the ethical guidelines of nine professional social sciences research associations:
- Research participants should not be subjected to harm in any ways whatsoever.
- Respect for the dignity of research participants should be prioritised.
- Full consent should be obtained from the participants prior to the study.
- The protection of the privacy of research participants has to be ensured.
- Adequate level of confidentiality of the research data should be ensured.
- Anonymity of individuals and organisations participating in the research has to be ensured.
- Any deception or exaggeration about the aims and objectives of the research must be avoided.
- Affiliations in any forms, sources of funding, as well as any possible conflicts of interests have to be declared.
- Any type of communication in relation to the research should be done with honesty and transparency.
- Any type of misleading information, as well as representation of primary data findings in a biased way must be avoided.
In order to address ethical considerations aspect of your dissertation in an effective manner, you will need to expand discussions of each of the following points to at least one paragraph:
a) Voluntary participation of respondents in the research is important
b) The use of offensive, discriminatory, or other unacceptable language needs to be avoided in the formulation of Questionnaire/Interview/Focus group questions.
c) Privacy and anonymity or respondents is of a paramount importance
d) Acknowledgement of works of other authors used in any part of the dissertation with the use of Harvard/APA/Vancouver referencing system according to the Dissertation Handbook
f) Maintenance of the highest level of objectivity in discussions and analyses throughout the research
In studies that do not involve primary data collection, on the other hand, ethical issues are going to be limited to the points d) and e) above
Bryman, A. & Bell, E. (2007) “Business Research Methods”, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.
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