At the very start of the research process, make sure that you chat with your supervisor about any ethical implications of the proposed research.
Always identify the ethical issues early because you and your supervisor will have to submit the appropriate paperwork to the School’s Director of Research for formal ethical approval. Importantly, the Director will need ALL relevant information about the proposed study, any ethical issues that may arise, how these will be addressed, etc. For example, you might need to submit an “Information Sheet” that the research participants will get, the “Consent Form” that participants will get, etc. So, at a very early point in the research process, you will need to think a lot about what you plan to do, how you will do it, who you intend doing it with . . .
Remember also to read all of the important documentation about ethics and research with human participants – none of us are perfect researchers and these documents are designed to help remind us of best practice when conducting research.
In your Methodology Chapter (of your thesis / dissertation), you will have a whole section on Ethics. You could even start to write this now. You will be reporting what the ethical issues identified were, how they were addressed, how you obtained Ethical Approval from the Director of Research, etc. By making your application for approval early, you have already developed much of what you need for this section of the Methodology Chapter . . . and the documents that could become one or two of your Appendices (e.g., the Information Sheet, the Consent Form).
Useful reference documents and sources of ethical information include:
– Information, advice, and guidance in your Research Handbook.
– The British Educational Research Association.
– The British Psychological Society.
– The Psychological Society of Ireland.
Posted on 3rd October, 2015. Copyright Conor Mc Guckin