Ethical issue in the article
In the article, the ethical issue involves trying to validate a constructive using of wrong methods of research, which may lead to the falsification of results generated from the hypothesis. Generally, the ethical issue is inevitable when subjects in the research are human (Lo, 2012).
In this article, there is the tendency of failing a research process based on the method of validation or theory, yet there might be many other reasons for wrong results, such as the poor specification of hypothesis or construct, problematic content of variables and poor personal judgment (Westen & Rosenthal, 2005).
Testing the hypothesis may bring wrong results if one relies on subjective estimates or unilateral source of data and overlooks complex patterns of measurement.
Importance of ethical issues in research work
It is important to consider ethical issues when researching to improve the validity of results, which should be reliable, knowledge enhancing, and free of errors or falsification. It is important to note that limitations in data collection and measurement may fail to test the hypothesis adequately, leading to a wrong research process.
As illustrated in the article, it is normally unethical to base construct validation only on literature due to limitations of statistics and generalization; rather, meta-analysis is essential as it eliminates problems that may arise from personal judgment or interest.
Thus, ethical standards and norms help promote values among researchers enhancing trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness through collaboration and cooperation. Indeed, ethics and values in both qualitative and quantitative research play a great role in empowering informants and participants with the aim of eliminating bias and evaluation errors (Fortune, Reid & Miller, 2013).
Problems caused by unethical practice
When Ethical issues fail to be demonstrated in research work, they can be harmful to the beneficiaries of the results of the study, as well as those involved in conducting the research. This kind of harm can be deeply explained in three different ways. First, some information, especially the personal profile of subjects used in research, should be made confidential (Fujii, 2012).
However, there are chances of such information to leak to undeserving third parties. Secondly, the setting in which research is being conducted may also be part of the main area that can harm an individual. Finally, the problem may arise when personal information and opinion are made public contrary to the agreement during the collection of the data between the researcher and the subject.
The relevance of the ethical issues to the researchers
Ethical issues play an important role for the researchers that help them to strive for honesty in all scientific communications. This enables researchers to remain objective and truthful in their task of trying to prove the validity of construct based on available and reliable methods.
Secondly, this ethical issue helps researchers to avoid bias in experimental design, data analysis, data interpretation, peer review, personnel decisions, and other aspects of research, where objectivity is expected or required (Fortune, Reid & Miller, 2013).
Given that personal opinions or interests may jeopardize measurement or testing of hypothesis, it becomes relevant for researchers to abide by the agreements of the research process and consistently take into consideration all possible factors that may or may not lead to falsification of results.
Ethical norms guide researchers on eliminating avoidable errors and negligence, as well as taking cognizance of the importance of maintaining proper records of research activities.
How Researchers address Ethical issue
Generally, researchers address the ethical issue by adopting the code and policies of research ethics, which help them become more accountable for their research. In clinical discipline, researchers address this issue by adopting a meta-analysis model that enhances nonpartisan measurement. Also, they use fit indices in combination with thoughtful and logical assessment of hypotheses and research questions to establish a valid correlation of variables.
It is important to note that codes, policies, and principles are vital in a clinical discipline, and as such, researchers need to be well conversant with different methods of interpretation, examination, and measurements to eliminate chances of conflict or misapplication (Fortune, Reid & Miller, 2013).
A personal opinion on the ethical issues
Ethical issues do have various effects on researchers, specifically on their conduct. Since researchers are guided by a professional code of conduct and ethics, they need to be reprimanded whenever they contravene any ethical norms or standards. This may be in the form of sanctions to conduct further research in the place where such a breach of ethics has occurred, or even a total ban from conducting any form of research appeared.
One important aspect worth noting is that breach of ethics that involves the disclosure of sensitive personal information is professionally scandalous and may cause significant harm to the subjects, either personally or professionally.
Nevertheless, given that almost every institution has formal codes of ethics to guide researchers when carrying out their responsibilities, it is important to take any unethical issue very seriously even to the extent of expelling members on the grounds of unethical conduct (Decker, Naugle, Carter-Visscher, Bell & Seifert, 2011).
Ethical responsibility of the researcher
Every researcher must protect the participant in the research study, including obtaining consent, ensuring protection from harm, and promise to protect the privacy as agreed (Fujii, 2012). According to Elger, Biller-Andorno, Mauron, & Capron (2013), everybody involved in research is entitled to understand the scope, purpose, and expectations of the research process, as well as any risks involved before making decisions on whether to take part or not.
Therefore, every research process must try to answer three questions before binding the subjects in the study. These include providing sufficient information to the subjects about the whole process, instilling knowledge that would help subjects understand their role and benefits they may get from the study, and lastly, ensuring participants engage in the study voluntarily without any form of influence or coercion.
Moreover, the researcher should ensure proper security of settings for conducting quantitative research, including the security of participants (Fujii, 2012). Finally, the researcher should uphold the highest degree of integrity to avoid incidences of invalid constructs or results.
The relevance of ethical issues in the education sector
In education discipline, ethics are required to ensure that no scholar is inhibited in his attempt to interrogate intellectual subjects, present findings from research and publish academic works as long as he or she demonstrates a high degree of professionalism. Breach of ethical standards in academic research normally leads to credibility issue and authority of an institution that is supposed to promote excellence in academic research.
According to Decker, Naugle, Carter-Visscher, Bell & Seifert (2011), academic researchers should uphold integrity in their work by following professional standards that include “appropriate research design and frameworks, adhering to high levels of research ethics, and abiding by the requirements set out by professional and regulatory research guidance and research ethics frameworks issued in appropriate areas.”
Consequently, researchers should demonstrate academic integrity by being honest, truthful, accountable and legitimate in their research activities.
Decker, S., Naugle, A., Carter-Visscher, R., Bell, K., & Seifert, A. (2011). Ethical Issues in Research on Sensitive Topics: Participants’ Experiences of Distress and Benefit. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 6(3), 55-64.
Elger, B., Biller-Andorno, N., Mauron, A., & Capron, A. (2013). Ethical issues in Governing Biobanks: Global perspectives. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Fortune, A., Reid, W., & Miller, R. (2013). Qualitative Research in Social Work. Columbia University Press.
Fujii, L. (2012). Research Ethics 101: Dilemmas and Responsibilities. PS: Political Science and Politics, 45(4), 717-723.
Lo, B. (2012). Ethical Issues in Clinical Research: A Practical Guide. PA, USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Westen, D., & Rosenthal, R. (2005). Improving Construct Validity: Cronbach, Meehl, and Neurath’s Ship. Psychological Assessment, 17(4), 409–412.