Ethical considerations are about choices and actions during decision making which distinguish between the right and wrong. It determines the difference between acceptable and unacceptable situations. Ethical standards will prevent against the fabrication or be falsifying of data and therefore, promote the pursuit of knowledge and truth which are the primary goal of research. Ethical behavior is also critical for collaborative work because it encourages an environment of trust, accountability and mutual respect among researchers. This is very important when considering issues related to data sharing, co-authorship, copyright guidelines, confidentiality, in order for the public to support and believe in the research. Other helpful guidelines such as human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, conflicts of interest, safety and health standards and so forth, must be followed by the researcher. These ethical issues are greatly impacting the integrity of the research project and affected the chances to receive funding if the researcher cannot achieve this requirement.
Ethical considerations are playing the important role in research so that many professional associations and agencies have adopted codes and policies for the outline of ethical behavior and guide researchers. Many examples of codes address issues, such as honesty, objectivity, respect for intellectual property, social responsibility, confidentiality, non-discrimination, and others. It uses as a basic guideline, but researchers will still be faced with additional issues that are not specifically addressed and require the decision-making of the researcher to avoid misconduct. The resource includes many of those issues. The case studies are the example used in these resources to provide excellent examples of the types of the current issues.
The human object is one of the most important ethical considerations in research. To address these considerations, most institutions and organizations have developed an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Panels of people in IRB will take responsibility and help to ensure the safety of human subjects in research and assist in making sure that human rights are not violated. They review the research methodology in grant proposals to assure that ethical practices are being utilized. The use of an IRB also helps to protect the institution and the researchers against potential legal implications from any behavior that may be deemed unethical.
The voluntary participation requires that people not be coerced into participating in research. It required of informed consent whereby participants must be fully informed about the procedures and risks involved in research before giving their consent to participate. Ethical standards also protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the subjects. Good research practice often requires the use of a no-treatment control group – a group of participants who do not get the treatment or program that is being studied. But when that treatment or program may have beneficial effects, the persons assigned to the no-treatment control may feel of their rights to equal access to services are being curtailed.