Ethical Consideration in Conducting Action Research

Ethical Consideration

Ethical Consideration in Conducting Action Research

 Any activity that involve people has ethical consideration. The process of action research in education is usually carried out in educational institutions and it involves the students, teachers or other human subjects. Ethical considerations are important to uphold individual rights of the participating subjects in action research and to ensure judicious interpretation of data.

Action researchers in education should work with respect for all persons involved in their research. Participants should be treated fairly, sensitively and with dignity and respect, free from any prejudices or discrimination. Richard Winter lists a number of ethical principles for the conduct of action research-

Ethical Consideration

 1. Make sure that the relevant persons, committees and authorities have been consulted, and that the principles guiding the work are accepted in advance by all.

2. All participants must be allowed to influence the work, and the wishes of those who do not wish to participate must be respected.

3. The development of the work must remain visible and open to suggestions from others.

4. Permission must be obtained before making observations or examining documents produced for other purposes.

5. Descriptions of other’s work and points of view must be negotiated with those concerned before being published.

6. The researcher must accept responsibility for maintaining confidentiality.

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 Besides the above mentioned ethical guidelines put forward by Winter, various authors have discussed about other important guidelines for ethical consideration of action research. A few of the important guidelines one’s may be mentioned as under-

a. Principle of informed consent:- Researchers must ensure that the participants in the research understand the process of research and how and who will be using the findings of research.

b. Principles of right to privacy or confidentiality:- Researchers must ensure confidential and anonymous treatment of data collected from participants.

c. Principle of right to withdraw:- Researchers must recognise the right of the participants to withdraw from the process of research at anytime for any reason and it is the duty of the researcher to inform the participants of this right.

d. Principle of cultural sensitivity:- Researchers studying issues that relate to the cultural differences issues that relate to the cultural differences of participants must be conscientious about possible cultural sensitivities and must address such issues carefully and without hurting the cultural sentiments of any group of participants.

e. Principle of proper method:- Researchers must adopt methods that are best suited to the purpose of their research. Moreover, since action research is conducted on a local and immediate problem, researchers must make it clear to what extent their findings are valid, reliable and generalisable.

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f. Principle of acknowledgement:- Action research being a collaborative process, the contributions of all collaborators on fellow teachers and other who assist directly or indirectly must be properly acknowledged.

g. Principle of professional standards:- Since action research is conducted in one’s own classroom or organisation, the researcher may have his influence on the subjects as well as findings. Hence, the researcher should be extremely cautious to maintain his integrity and professional standards of research with an unbiased, honest and objective attitude of mind while conducting action research.

Ethical consideration of action research points to safeguarding the dignity of the individual participants, their rights to opt out of the process of research at any time, being truly informed about the purpose and how and who will be using the findings of research.

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