Ethics in research; What is acceptable and what isn’t?

Ethics in research; What is acceptable and what isn't?

As depicted by the fight between two wolves, the discussion of ethics governing research today is plagued with dilemmas and traps regarding what’s appropriate and what’s not.

Guided by morality values, ethical norms are largely acquired via educational, cultural and social settings.

Ubiquitous and commonsensical as it seems, we often tell ourselves “surely he/’she must know that that is wrong!?”
Yet there still remains an abundance of ethical disputes and issues regarding research.

We are all in reality, hostages to our experiences.

While most people recognize common ethical norms, individuals interpret, practice, and balance norms in light of their own values and experiences.

Whilst various disciplines, institutions, and professions have norms to standardize professional codes of conduct, there are several core reasons outlining the importance of adherence to ethical norms in research:

• Aimed at providing knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error, researchers should refrain from fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting research data for the sole purpose of objectivity.

• Given that research may adopt a multidisciplinary approach involving cooperation and coordination amongst individuals from various disciplines and institutions, ethical standards promote trust, accountability, respect and fairness pivotal to collaborative work.

• In relation to beneficence towards mankind, researchers’ duty of care should extend beyond the study for accountability purposes.

• While norms of research promote a variety of other important moral and social values (social responsibility, human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, and health and safety), ethical lapses in research can have disastrous consequences on participants, animal subjects, students, and the public.

“A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.” – Winston Churchill

As tempting as it maybe my dear fellow researchers, it is the wolf that you feed that will triumph.

Choose wisely.