Research Ethics

I liked how today’s guest speaker discussed the historical perspective of research ethics. It showed why showed the importance of why it is necessary to have such standards in research. It provides protection to the researcher but more importantly the participant. Some studies that are conducted involve very controversial issues that can be very sensitive to the individual, which is why it is important to have ethical guidelines that researchers should follow in order to not exploit the vulnerable individual. As discussed in some of the lectures and readings this term was the controversy of conducting online and offline research has been debated about whether researchers should hold the same standards and merit for the digital community as in the non-digital one. It was refreshing to hear that online research should follow the same ethical standards as offline ones. I feel that ethics should be in all research studies despite them being online. All research conducted should be accountable and lawfully done. The idea that anything on the Internet is fair game or “anything goes” because it is all public disregards the ethic issues involved in research. Unless one is just observing and not interacting with then consent on the participant’s part is necessary. According to the University of Toronto Guidelines and Practices Manual for Research Involving Human Subjects, research participants who choose to participate in a survey have the same rights as any participant who signed a consent form so they are enabled to withdraw at any time. Based on Section 2A of the Tri-Council Policy Statement, a researcher that conducts a study involving human subjects must be consensual, voluntary, and informed throughout the process. Throughout the study the research subjects are entitled to respect and autonomy, which is seen through the dialogue, information sharing, and general process that the subjects chosen to participate in. I found the ethics lecture to be very insightful and useful for how to go about research in the future, as well as the final assignment.


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