What’s the big deal with Ethics?

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Let’s get to the core on what is ethics in the first place. Ethics are a set of moral principles that has been widely accepted on, in other words what is right or wrong. Some examples of widely accepted ethics are keeping promises or killing someone is bad, but what are some of the ethics in research. For starters in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research one of many ethics are

  • Research done must be honest
  • People, animals and the environment that was used in the research must be respected
  • Good management of public resources used in the research
  • Appropriate acknowledgement of others that helped in the research
  • Having responsibility in the information of the research results

After saying what is ethics. Now comes why it is important in research. First of it is the better thing to do. Rather than to create unnecessary problems for you research. If your research had been done unethically there are many downfalls towards it. People would not be willing to participate into your research because they feel that what you are researching about is not ethical. This may also damage your name as a researcher. People remember the bad stuff of what others have done rather than the good things. This may affect you from doing any future researches and even affect your credibility in what you publish.

For example of a research that had been done that questions it’s ethics would be the Stanford Prison Experiment. The purpose of the experiment was to see how participants would react when they are placed in a simulated prison environment. The research had shown that within a few hours the participants had really been immersed in their situation and even shown lots of stress, humiliation and some even thought they were actual criminals in an actual prison. All though the experiment was supposed to last for 14 days.  Zimbardo (main researcher) ended the experiment on the 6 day. This research had many people criticize on as people felt that the participants were not fully informed on what may happen to them. That includes how much humiliation they would get or how much stress would be put on to them. To Zimbardo’s defense even he was unaware of how the participants would react to the experiment.

Another scenario that questioned the ethics of the research was Facebook’s Emotional Manipulation Study. During this research Facebook had studied thousands of users without their consent. Not only that they also manipulated their news feed. The reason being is so that they could research user’s emotional behavior. In my opinion Facebook should not have done that because people are sensitive towards their privacy. Having their consent would be important as I gives the users the option to decline their research offer. If they are afraid that giving the consent may change the accuracy of the data being collected they could as for the user’s last year information feed. That way it is not tampered with and still reusable for their research. As a conclusion research done should have ethical practices. It is not only protecting those who partake in the research but also encourages other people to follow this practice and teach people more about ethical behavior.

Reference

http://comp.uark.edu/~rlee/gmp/help.html

https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/r39

http://www.simplypsychology.org/zimbardo.html

http://theconversation.com/facebook-puts-ethics-of-research-by-private-companies-in-spotlight-28798

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One thought on “What’s the big deal with Ethics?

  1. Ethics are definitely a debate of discussion as there is such a fine line between what is seen as right and what is seen as wrong. I heard about the Facebook study and this is ethically wrong on so many levels. If the ‘participants’ had given their consent than the experiment would have been fine but they were not informed of this. If a person was actually suffering from a mental, emotional illness such as depression this could have really affected them. Interesting idea into ethics.

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