|Type of paper:||Research proposal|
|Categories:||Research Diversity Ethical dilemma|
There has been a rise in research studies which has brought many issues when carrying out research. The ethical issues are important factors to consider when carrying out a study because it involves human beings who deserve dignity, respect, and protection (Belmont report, 1978). Therefore the researcher should pay keen interest in those aspects of the research because some of them have a direct effect on the outcome of the study. The relationship between the researcher and the participant should be established before the study and continued even much later after the study. This will help the participants to feel valued, and trust will be built between the two parties
This study will evaluate the perceived role of the researcher during the study and the participants in this study will be children from different schools. The children will be of 8-13 years old and will constitute both female and male children. I have chosen children because they are a vulnerable group of people and when it comes to research they could be at risk of being exploited regarding providing information without their consent. Children may confirm assent with little understanding of the research due to peer pressure, pressure from teachers and the researcher and also the incentives are given to the participants by the researcher.
This paper aims to determine the responsibility of the researcher during the study. This topic is of great interest because many researchers tend to avoid some of their responsibilities which in turn cause ethical dilemmas during the study. It is, therefore, necessary to study the role of the researcher in such a vulnerable population.
Respect for Persons
According to the Belmont report (1978), the responsibility of the researcher toward the participants is to ensure that that the sensitive group is protected and given right to autonomy. The right for autonomy requires that the participants be given space to make decisions on their own without the influence of external factors. This law of the right to autonomy can only be broken if the person can make clear and sound judgments. Participants should be allowed to act solely without the engagement of the researcher and should provide all the information that may form the basis on which the participants may decide upon. However, this principle may not apply in cases especially in observation research which involves observing a certain behavior or trend. In most cases, the participants may act in a way that will affect the results of the study because they would change their behavior. Flynn & Goldsmith, (2012) argues that it is therefore important to balance between balancing the arguments of this policy.
This one of the most popular responsibility of the researcher, however, it may not be presented well. Children want to listen over and over so that they can understand. The role of the researcher here is to ensure that the participants understand the importance of the study before involving them in the study. The challenge of this principle when dealing with children is that you cannot tell whether they have understood or not and whether their willingness to participate was genuine and not influenced by other factors. The main parts are of the consent form is the information part which involves procedures, risks involved, benefits accrued and alternative procedure. The form also contains a section where the participants and the researcher are supposed to sign upon agreement. Blanche et al., (2006) found that the language and tone used in informed consents of adults are very different from the assent form of the children.
Protection of human being is important as well as the data that they provide during the research. Data is very sensitive and therefore should be stored well. The researcher should make efforts in minimizing any risks that are associated with the study. According to the Belmont report (1978), two general guidelines complement each other which are minimizing the risks and maximizing benefits. People are different and may interpret situations differently because some people may see themselves as subjects being used in research for measurements which may bring conflict between the participant and the researcher (Flynn & Goldsmith (2012). In this case, the researcher should be careful to protect their privacy and value. Additionally, the tools for collecting data can affect the outcome of the results, for example, audio and video recording.
Selection of Participants and Justice
In research ethics justice refers to the fair and equal selection of research participants. Justice principle requires that researchers practice fairness at all times during their research process. The principle of justice requires that in participation in a particular study involves undertaking a burden of research and thus participants should benefit directly from the study regardless of the role played. Participants should be treated fairly and should come first before the objectives of the study. This means that the researcher should not compromise the participant's rights at the expense of achieving the expected outcomes in a study (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012). Researchers sometimes find the implementation of this principle challenging in cases whereby they are required to ensure that all groups in society benefit from the research despite their levels of vulnerability which they might be perceived to poses. It is unjust and unethical to fail to involve or to make it challenging to engage a particular group in a research study (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012).
In most research studies, for example, it could be argued that all participants invited by the researcher to participate in a study are vulnerable by their relationship with the researchers. However, this is not true are some groups in a research study are more susceptible than others. For instance, participants in an investigation may be vulnerable due to factors such as age and mental challenges. To participate in a study, participants are required to give their consent in the participation in the study. However, due to factors such as old age, young age or mental in-capabilities they may not be able to do so (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012). In as much as this might result in complexity in conducting a researcher, researchers should not take advantage of the vulnerabilities. If they do so, the research study will lose its credibility as the justice principle was not adhered to during the selection of participants. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is an act of parliament in the United Kingdom which provides a legal framework for making decisions on adults who lack the capacity. The act can be applied in research to receive consent from participants whom the researcher has classified as lacking the capacity but are important to the study.
The principle of justice is relevant to the selection of participants at two levels; the social and the individual level. Social justice requires that the researcher determines the class of groups who are eligible to participate in a research study. For instance, in a maternal health research project, the researcher should clearly state and ensure the age of participants is attained to avoid enrollment of children (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012). This protects the participants such that the abilities of the participants are not exhausted in the process of conducting the research. There should be an order of preference in the selection of participants. The researcher should also set certain conditions which might be met by though willing to participate. Individual justice, on the other hand, involves availing equal opportunities to all participants. For instance, the researcher should not favor a certain group of participants at the expense of others. Instead, all participants should be treated equally regardless of the relationship with the researcher (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012).
Research study participants
Description of the population
The population of the study is children for ages 8-13 years. The children are both girls and boys of whom most of them attend school. The children are a sensitive population because they need close monitoring and enough attention. They can easily harm themselves or harm others easily. The children also may fail to understand the importance of the research, therefore, giving wrong information which might affect the outcome of the study. The children may also feel as if they are being forced to reveal important information while on the other hand, the researcher might take advantage of the population to ask questions which are not part of the study. The children cannot decide whether to participate in the study or not
Ethical and Cultural Responsiveness
The researcher should act professionally when carrying out the research. Misconduct is not tolerated by any research institution. The researcher should also be competence enough by following the research guidelines. It is the responsibility of the researcher to dictate their stance before the beginning of the study to eliminate ethical dilemmas that may arise during the research. The researcher should ensure that they respect participants' rights, dignity, and diversity. Social responsibility to the community the research is taking place in is another cultural responsiveness of the researcher.
Ethical Concerns about your Proposed Research
Informed Consent/ and child Consent
Consent will first be obtained from the parents or the guardians of the children. Then the researcher should explain the purpose of the study with the simplest language possible to make sure that they understand. Upon understanding the researcher and the children will sign the assent form and then a copy will be given to the parents or the guardians (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012). The child is only supposed to sign the assent form if they have understood the purpose of the study, if they agree to take part in the study and if they a have talked to their parents about the study. The researcher should clearly explain that failing to participate in the study would not get them into any trouble and that they can decide to drop the study at any time (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012).
Assessing Harm, Minimizing Harm, Benefits of Research Participants
Safety if the participant should be given priority by reducing anything that poses a risk to the safety of the children. The researcher should, therefore, assess the environment for the study people inviting the participants in the field or the room for example sticks, wet floor and open pits in the field (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012). The benefits of taking part in the study might not be well understood by the participants however the researcher will make it clear that they will be able to understand what research is and what their right is regarding participation, safety, and confidentiality.
Getting Access and Developing Trust and Rapport
The researcher will follow a certain protocol for accessing the target population. For the children who are in school, the researcher will approach the school administration and then the class teachers who will allow the researcher to access the participants. The researcher will spend time with the children in a class and the field to create a good rapport. The researcher will also allow the children to ask as many questions as possible before the commencement of the study. Another way that the researcher will use is using very simple language, maintaining eye contact and use of body language to pass information to the children (Flynn & Goldsmith, 2012). The researcher will give each participant a pen, pencil and a book as part of compensation.
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