Ethical Considerations in Research

Ethical Considerations in Research


In the event of conducting research, there are various moral guidelines or principle that need to be followed. These are what Navab et al., (2016) term as research ethics. These ethical guidelines oversee, control and govern the behavior of people undertaking a certain specific activity. In research, these ethical guidelines are referred to as Ethics. They are used to guide researchers on the way to deal with the subjects, the objects and the information obtained from research. As observed by Leibovici (2016), research ethics are research requirements used to protect the dignity of research subjects and the publication of the sought data.  According to Navab et al., (2016) when researchers engage in research related to nursing practice, it is required of them to get along with three value systems. These include society, nursing, and science. These value systems in some cases can conflict the values of research subjects, communities as well as the values of the societies. Ethical issues such as maintaining and respecting the privacy and confidentiality of the shared experience of others, recognizing intellectual property and minimizing harm, are essential while conducting any research (Ravitch & Carl, 2016).

Informed consent

The issue of informed consent is the primary ethical issue in the process of conducting research. Informed consent in simple terms the subjects knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently give their consent (Ravitch & Carl, 2016). By respecting this ethical consideration, the researcher will have protected the subject’s right to autonomy. Informed consent when observed will help to protect personal liberty and veracity. In this case, during the process of collecting data, the researcher will first need to introduce the study and its purpose. Subjects will also be explained about the procedures involved. Additionally, it will be essential to describe to the subjects any physical harm or discomfort that comes with the research. If there will be any threat to their dignity, the subjects will be made aware. Also if there are benefits associated with the research, it will be explained to the researcher. Moreover, the researcher will have the responsibility of letting the subjects if there is any withheld information and the reason why such information has been withheld. Lastly, then it will be essential to discuss the subjects on the freedom to withdraw. In a nutshell, before the subjects are asked to consent, disclosure, comprehension, competency, and voluntariness must be observed.

Beneficence- Do not harm

The principle of beneficence simple tell the researchers not to use methods and procedure that will put the subjects in critical conditions. As such, the researcher should not, by any chance harm the subjects. While conducting this research conditions should be set right to ensure the subjects are not subjected to any harm. As observed by Navab et al., (2016), harm could be physiological, emotional, social and economic. Research of this kind can call to learn more about the personal issues which could end up causing psychological or emotional harm to the subjects. In this case, it will be the responsibility of the researcher to put into consideration all possible risks and balance the risks with the proportionate benefit (Leibovici 2016). In the case where the risks outweigh the benefits, the researcher will have no option but to revise the study methods. However, if the researcher did not anticipate any harm from the study and the subjects end up hurt, an appropriate professional intervention such as therapy will be provided (Ravitch & Carl, 2016).

Respect for anonymity and confidentiality

While conducting research, researchers are required to respect and maintain anonymity and confidentiality. In this regards, anonymity entails ensuring that the subjects’ responses are not be linked with personal responses. On the other hand, confidentiality refers to managing the subjects’ personal information to protect their identity. Anonymity and confidentiality are closely linked to respect for privacy. Respect for privacy in research apply when the researcher shares the subjects’  information with third parties without their knowledge or consent. Such information may include subjects’ beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and records.

Use of Vulnerable Groups

The other primary ethical challenge in research is the use of vulnerable groups of people as research subjects.  According to (Ravitch & Carl, 2016), it is unethical to include the following group of people as research subjects; prisoners, children, mentally disabled, and people with learning disabilities. This groups of people cannot be able to protect their rights and welfare and hence are unable to give informed consent. There is a higher risk in including this person as research subjects. Take, for example, a situation where mentally ill people are used, there is the risk of intellectual property used in the research being destroyed by them, or the researcher himself can be physically assaulted.

Maintaining honesty and integrity for researchers is sometimes a challenge. Whereas they are obliged to keeping agreements and acting with sincerity while conducting research they end up not living to those agreements and promises. They sometimes fabricate data and misrepresent result which is an act of dishonesty.




Chances of having successful research without proper consideration of ethical issues are very minimal. Researchers, therefore, need to act per the research ethics while conducting research and ensure they are aware of the challenges that might be associated with these ethical-moral principles (Ravitch & Carl, 2016).




Leibovici, L. (2016). Ethical considerations in research published in the CMI. Clinical      Microbiology and Infection, 22(12), 957.

Navab, A., Koegel, R., Dowdy, E., & Vernon, T. (2016). Ethical considerations in the application of the scientist-practitioner model for psychologists conducting intervention research. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 46(2), 79-87.

Ravitch, S. M., & Carl, N. M. (2016). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical,            and methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.