Action Research – Ethical Issues CARN Study Day Liverpool Hope University May 2005
What is research? • A way of finding things out • Finding out how to do things better • Finding out why we do things the way we do • Gaining an understanding of how things work or happen • Challenging our assumptions
Action Research • Impacting our practice • Reviewing our practice • Justifying our practice • Amending our practice • Improving our practice • Sharing best practice
Research Ethics • Carrying out research in a morally responsible way • Not disadvantaging anyone by the research • Respecting others’ opinions and rights • Working within an ethical code • Seeking permission/access
Ethics principle honest right moral proper honourable fair decent legal
Hippocratic Oath - the foundation for medical ethics; “first do no harm”
Data Protection Act 1998 This gives priority to personal privacy and protection of personal information. Anyone who wants to collect personal data must say how the information will be used, who will have access to it, and that it will not be stored or shared any longer than necessary. (This also relies upon the integrity of the researcher)
The Integrity of the Researcher • Personal / professional ethics • Personal / professional responsibility • Professional code of conduct will require • adherence to ethical guidelines and • principles. • Ethics committee • Personal responsibility to be honest • throughout.
The Power Imbalance • Unethical to; • suppress data or skew findings. • video or photograph without consent. • breach confidentiality.
There are some grey areas though……... Ethnography - capturing behaviour when people do not feel they are being observed. Participation or exploitation? Covert or overt observation? Non-participant or participant observer? A participant could be wielding influence… A non-participant could be projecting / offering own viewpoint...
Both would argue they were being academically rigorous and ethically sensitive. Personal integrity is crucial - and acknowledge possible bias or influence in findings.
Ethical Guidelines Respect participants. Seek permission / informed consent Explanation from researcher as to nature and purpose of research. Recorded personal data will be destroyed as soon as appropriate.
Ethical Guidelines Responsibility to participant where project involves sensitive personal disclosure. Maintaining confidentiality. Always be aware that individuals have a right to access information organisations may be keeping on them.
‘Those who contribute to research findings as informants or as research subjects, should be no worse off at the end of their participation than they were when they started.’ Denscombe, M. (2003) The Good Research Guide O.U. Press
‘What are the narrative constructs of bereaved parents?’
Methodology • Qualitative research- looking in-depth at what happens and gathering opinions and interpretations (narrative) • Quantitative research – measuring, categorising, drawing conclusions, making causal links (numerical)
Spirituality 8% Severance 14% Connectedness 78%
Some considerations: • Relationship of researcher to participants • Prior relationship • 3. Assumptions • 4. Influence
Further considerations: • ‘Control group’ interviewed by a stranger • Original participants interviewed by a • stranger • External supervision • Triangulation • Integrity of the researcher
‘I only want what is in your mind and in your heart’ David Tasma 1947 ‘I’ll be a window in your home’
Research offers the world a window onto our practice Action research flings the windows open