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Ethical considerations in doing research

Chapter 6

  • While preparing for your data collection you should consider ethical connotations associated with:
    • Your research methods
    • Your approach to selecting, recruiting, and contacting people
  • Considering ethical problems in advance and showing how you intend to deal with them is a good way of demonstrating your understanding of the research process to your audience and assessors
  • The most straightforward approach here is to use a checklist of ethical issues such as that in Chapter 6
  • (Also see: p.135)

To see video clips of students talking about ethical considerations, click here

Web link: - The research ethics guidebook helps navigate the research ethics processes in social science research. It signposts more information along the way and acts as a prompt for reflection throughout the research process.

Exercise: Ethics in business research



As a Research Manager of a university, responsible for looking after Master and Doctor of Philosophy (M. Phil. and PhD.) students, devise a code of ethics as a checklist which students must complete before starting their research and will stand scrutiny by the University's Research Ethics Committee. The code must cover elements of harm to participants, lack of informed content, invasion of privacy, deception, and data confidentiality, and anonymity.

Whilst this question can be answered in several ways, one way would be to design risk assessment matrix of possible ethical circumstances as follows:

Indicate how you intend to address each of the points, as appropriate.

How will you address these points?


Observation research


Giving advice


Research undertaken in public places

Withdrawal from the investigation

Academic integrity

Confidentiality, anonymity, and data protection

Animal rights

Protection of participants

Contractual responsibilities
Check your answer