Ethical Considerations

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Ethical Considerations

Table of Content



Maintaining the Ethical Integrity4

Some conceptions of ethics relevant to research4


Risk assessment6

Informed Consent7

Privacy and Confidentiality8

Data Handling and Reporting9

Mistakes and negligence11

Working with a Mentor12

University requirements for IRB approval13



Ethical Considerations


Issues of ethics have become a major concern in social research in recent years. Questions about the ethical dimension of research projects now often assume significance as great as that of defining research aims or methodology. This chapter examines the way in which ethics has grown in importance as a dimension of research, specifically focusing on social work research. The chapter considers ethics as an aspect of research practice, locating it within social relationships, especially as these can be understood as constitutive of power dynamics such as the capacity of some people to affect the lives of many others for better or for worse. So the chapter first examines reasons why we ought to be concerned about ethics in social (work) research.

Second, it considers ways in which institutional processes have come to dominate thinking about research ethics and briefly explores the positive as well as the negative implications of this phenomenon. Then the complexities of seeking 'informed consent' are examined as a core issue in research ethics, using an example from practice to illustrate some of the current debates. In the next part of the chapter consideration is given to the challenges presented by recent developments in applied ethics and this is illustrated by a further detailed example. The chapter concludes by re-emphasizing the way in which the ethics of social work research connects research to the wider professional field of social work.


Maintaining the Ethical Integrity

The aim of the scientific approach is to provide explanations to better understand the research process through a process that assumptions must be confronted with observations stringent measures and tests. To achieve this goal in my research, I will consider that the purpose of research and observation activities must be isolated from what could be the influences that can bias the findings. To achieve objectivity, I will take utmost care while describing my approach to transparency and rigor of methodology.

Traditional learning assumes that ideas are fixed, whereas experiential learning assumes that ideas are formed and reformed through experience; learning is an emergent process where experience modifies ideas (Kolb 1984). Traditional learning is consistent with the “banking” educational model, whereby instructors “deposit” information in passive students through teaching strategies, such as lecturing. Instead of depositing information in students, experiential learning minimizes instructors' control over students who are treated as active learners by using teaching strategies, such as role-playing exercises (Henderikus, 2010). Experiential learning is a student-centered approach in which students learn through active involvement

Some conceptions of ethics relevant to research

The scientific assessment, research funding and reward research teams are factors that affect the integrity in research.


With the introduction of the Internet and publications of the World Wide Web is available online and some use these documents for school work instead of doing research and creating an original ...
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