Research Ethics

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					An ethical teaching
resource for tourism and
social science students

Dr Carl Cater
Aberystwyth University
The problem with universities
 Social science often left behind in ethical
 However doesn’t fit in a shoehorned
  regulatory approach either!
 ESRC Framework for Research
 Ethics (FRE) 2010.
1. Research should be designed, reviewed and undertaken to ensure integrity,
quality and transparency.
2. Research staff and participants must normally be informed fully about the
purpose, methods and intended possible uses of the research, what their
participation in the research entails and what risks, if any, are involved.
3. The confidentiality of information supplied by research participants and the
anonymity of respondents must be respected.
4. Research participants must take part voluntarily, free from any coercion.
5. Harm to research participants must be avoided in all instances.
6. The independence of research must be clear, and any conflicts of interest or
partiality must be explicit.
Ethical Education
 broader remit of creating responsible
 In Wales for example, HEFCW requires
  HEIs to identify and enhance areas for
  Education for Sustainable Development
  and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) in its
  graduates (WAG, 2006).
Graduate skills
 Gwella project goals of “to improve, to get
  better, to heal, and to enhance”
  technology-based learning.
 skills set that is in line with the University’s
  learning and teaching objective 4.4, that
  seeks to ‘promote global sustainability and
  citizenship’ attributes in its graduates.
‘philosophic practitioners’
Undergraduate interpretation of
ethics- a baseline
   46 undergraduate mixed science/social
Student question: What does
ethics mean to you?
 Morals, fair, consideration, right and
  wrong, good and bad, judgement, equality,
  inclusiveness, reasoning, welfare, safe,
  respect, informed, reciprocity
 Based on upbringing/ “built in”/ accepted
 Not distress or impair
   “depending on the content to which it is in
    ethics can mean a variety of things such
    as in animal welfare situations for example
    or even human rights”
   “Ethics, as I understand it is the
    meandering of social nicetys and moral
    obligations instilled by ones parents,
    religion and culture to find something fair
    in an ever changing state”
“Ethics are the self-appointed mode of
  salvation for the masses, a term applied to
  mans actions as a polite pseudonym to
  replace the word ‘sin’. Ethics have
  conveniently become subject to personal
  discernment, thus proving that there is no
  unethical deed, allowing the masses to
  indulge in all sin and immorality”
Student question: Can you think of an
ethical decision you have made?
   Vegetarianism
   Animal testing
   Euthanasia
   Consumer decisions (local, materials, carbon, fairtrade)
   Personal development?-Going to uni to get a better job?
   Collective- societies/ working with others
   Training
   ‘Not be racist’
Student question: Difference between
everyday ethics and research ethics

 Experimental nature- more thought out
  and planned
 Avoiding harm
 Less about choice?
 More ‘risky’
 Everyday ‘automatically applied’
 “No- they are only different because they
  are printed”
Student Project ethics
   Animal issues quite well defined
   Legal and regulatory issues
   Broader aspects
   Implemetation and siting
   Copyright
   Age
   Access
   Plagarism
   Taking up time
Teaching Ethics
   The program must complement the general
    developmental stage of the students.
   The timing of the program is important.
   The length of the program is important.
   Finally, the teaching methods selected are critical
    to a student’s development- the most effective
    courses are those that are based on “dilemma
    discussions on controversial moral problems”,
    during which the teacher acts as a facilitator.
    Student interaction is essential to the success of a
    program (Clarkeburn, 2002).
    ‘Rules’ or judgements?
   “teaching ethics should perhaps be modelled
    on teaching someone how to play a musical
    instrument, where the student is initiated into a
    particular way of feeling and responding,
    mastering the local techniques, and eventually
    being able to improvise within settled practices
    when appropriate. In such learning, the
    considered judgements of experienced
    persons carry more weight than theoretical
    arguments”. Winston (2000, p. 158)
   According to Winston (2000), the use of
    narrative cases can assist students to
    develop skills in perception, decision
    making, logical argument and analysis.
Creating a tool at Aberystwyth:
   Introduce a framework for ethical thinking

   Outline the principles of ethical conduct in human

   Identify areas of ethical consideration in the design and
    conduct of your research

   Identify areas of responsible practice consideration in the
    design and conduct of your research

   Provide an overview of Aberystwyth University policies
    and systems
Elements of the platform will include;

   A literature review on best practices in teaching ethics to students.
   A PowerPoint slideshow addressing ethics, ethics in research and responsible
    practice in research. This includes the background of ethics, the role of culture and
    values in ethics, various ethical and responsible practice issues, strategies for dealing
    with the various ethical and responsible practice issues, and the university ethics
   A matrix framework for constructing context-based scenarios. Included in this are a
    bank of relevant references and case studies for the associated research
    method/ethics and responsible practice issues. The matrix framework facilitates the
    development of context-based materials in other discipline areas. Thus a modified
    form of the platform may be used in a range of research methods courses being
    delivered across the university, or indeed embedded in a number of courses dealing
    with discipline specific ethical issues.
   A suite of test questions for examining ethics and responsible practice.
   Development of an online platform for delivery of these elements to students.
Matrix for focussing ethical issues, research
methods, research project, and ethics problems
Research method                                 Hypothetical research Ethics issues: Ethical discussion points
                                                project topic
                                                                                                        Rec Consent:                         Risks/benefits:                                                                                          Confidentiality/Privacy:     Conflict of Interest: Perceived Authorship: Recognising the
                                                Should we be asking the ruitment:                            The selection of an appropriate Appropriately addressing risks                                                                           Whether anonymity is an conflicts of interest – who contribution of all authors.
                                                question?    Ethics    of                               Rec consent mechanism                                                                                                                         ethical   requirement    for decides.
                                                Research Question and Use ognising      that     recruitment                                                                                                                                          research
                                                Implications              strategies can expose potential
                                                                          participants to risks.
Focus groups                                   Motivations of adolescents to attend a music   Whether offering incentives to potential Whether adolescents can consent in their own                Travel risks in travelling to and form the focus   Focus group members disclosing people’s        More vocal focus group members may push Engaging in “member checking” of focus
(Bloor et al., 2001; T. L. Greenbaum, 1998; T. festival                                       participants is appropriate                   right.                                                 group/Future festivals being more tailored to      identity after the focus group.                their agenda and inhibit other participants if group interpretation
L. Greenbaum, 2000; Stewart et al., 2007)                                                     (Bloor et al., 2001, p. 53; Grant & Sugarman, (Zelaznik, 1993) – coercion                            adolescents.                                       (Bloor et al., 2001) Or disclosing what they   focus group moderator is not well skilled      (Bloor et al., 2001, p. 71).
                                               How do you account for or report underage
                                                                                              2004).                                        (Kroll, 1993)                                          (Griffith University Office of Finance and         have heard                                     (Bloor et al., 2001, p. 49; T. L. Greenbaum,
                                               drinking/ recreational drug taking?
                                                                                                                                            (Black & Ponirakis, 2000) – in extreme cases.          Business Services, 2006)                                                                          2000, p. 184).
                                                                                                                                            (National Health and Medical Reseach Council,
                                                                                                                                            2001; Sieber, 1992)

Questionnaires                                  Evaluation of cultural event using an exit- Ensuring participants have language and            Ensuring second, third, … language users            Researcher being abused for impeding exit Other     event     participants observing              Questionnaire field personnel may be       Recognising the roles         of research
(Sarantakos, 1994)                              questionnaire                               literacy levels to participate.                    understand language of the consent form.            process from event/ Accessing immediate questionnaire process which makes overt                   focussed on a quota of responses to be     assistants.
                                                                                            (Griffith University Human Research Ethics         (Davis et al., 1998) – standard versus simplified   feedback from event participants.         people’s participation.                                 achieved and may manufacture responses     (Griffith University Intellectual Property
                                                                                            Committee, 2006; Jennings, 2001, p. 107)           consent forms. (Raich et al., 2001)                 (Jennings, 2001, p. 106)                                                                          to hit quota. Separating and reconciling   Policy, 2005; Jennings, 2001, p. 330)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     roles: the part time researcher.

Interviews                                      Tourism operators’ satisfaction of destination Timing, duration,   setting   and   nature   of Oral consent is complemented         with written   Possible exclusion from destination marketing      Non-disclosure or disguising identity of       Emic and etic roles may influence          Ensuring the “voices” of participants are
(Gubrium & Holstein, 2002, 2003; Holstein &     marketing organisation services                questions used.                                 consent                                             organisation    services/   Improvement     in     researchers as DMO staff.                      interpretation if roles are not clearly    adequately       captured and    reflected
Gubrium, 2003; Jennings, 2005; Minichiello et                                                  (de Vaus, 1995)                                 (Rubin & Rubin, 1995) – section on consent          destination marketing organisation services        (Minichiello et al., 1995) – on non-           identified.                                especially if using qualitative research
                                                Local political relationships and historical
al., 1995; Rubin & Rubin, 1995; Sarantakos,                                                                                                    (Sieber, 1992)                                      (Stake, 1995)                                      disclosure in general                          (Grbich, 2004) – briefly.                  methodology
                                                context may influence outcomes
1994)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           (Rubin & Rubin, 1995) – versus the need
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                for confidentiality

Ethnography                                     Study of independent travellers        travel Ensuring that “gatekeepers” or sanctioning       Deception and consent – consideration of overt Impacting on travel experience/Achieivng rich           Ensuring ethnographic information carries      Gatekeepers may influence information Acknowledging contributions from beyond
(Cole, 2005; Fetterman, 1989; Taylor, 2002)     experiences within a specific nation          bodies have agreed to the research as well as    versus covert observer roles                      empirical material to interpret the travel           no identifying information.                    gathering by restricting access to all the research team.
                                                                                              the participant groups                           (Bok, 1996; Fetterman, 1989; Flick, 2006; Patton, experiences of independent travellers.               (Banks, 2001; Ermine et al., 2004;             aspects of independent         travellers
                                                                                              (Banks, 2001; Fetterman, 1989; Sieber, 1992).    1990; Sieber, 1992).                                                                                   Fetterman, 1989; Pink, 2001; Sieber, 1992)     experiences
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (Jennings, 2005; Sieber, 1992)

Delphic method                              Identification of future safety and security Ensuring anonymity of participants throughout Consideration of making explicit or not the Some participants presenting a biased Ensuring other participants may not access Ensuring other participants may not access Acknowledging        the     contribution of
(Garrod & Fyall, 2005; Hasson et al., 2000; issues for transportation sector             the Delphic iterations.                       sponsor(s) of research (Veal, 2006) – not viewpoint/Iterative and anonymous process of primary information                   primary information                        participants with one to one thank yous and
Stewart et al., 2007)                                                                                                                  specifically in relation to Delphic         Delphic method negates a “powerful” person                                                                                  a generic thank you in research report
                                            How findings might be used by media/
                                                                                                                                                                                   pushing one agenda.                                                                                                         writing to protect participant identity.
                                            policymakers for self-interest.

Documentary/Archival method                     Analysis of compliance of marine tourism Protecting harm to constituency membership Reflecting on consent of people no longer able to Incomplete data or empirical materials being                    Researcher access to confidential data of      Researcher access to confidential data of Ensuring that quoted work is adequately
(Neuman, 2000)                                  providers safety manuals with national who may not have agreed to participate when provide consent.                                   available/ Possible access to commercial-in-                    names and contact details.                     names and contact details.                referenced and authorship attributed
                                                standards                                those in power have agreed to access to                                                      confidence documents.                                           (National Health and Medical Research          (National Health and Medical Research correctly.
                                                                                         materials.                                                                                                                                                   Council, 2001)                                 Council, 2001)

Experimental and quasi-experimental method      Testing of hotel room redesigns or new menus Ensuring any possible negative soliloquy has Masking of research aims to counter for bias             Causing                  psychological/physical    Requirement to destroy all data after a Requirement to destroy all data after a Clearly    identifying others   research
(Jackson, 2003; Sarantakos, 1994)               in restaurants                                   complementary support mechanisms in place associated with socio-demographic influences on         stress/Achieving results close to real life        period of 5/7 years.                       period of 5/7 years.                 processes used in experiments and quasi-
                                                                                                 such as counselling or medical support    participant decision-making                             experiences                                        (Griffith University Human Research Ethics (Sieber, 1992)                       experiments.
                                                Could this impact on local traditional design or
                                                                                                                                                                                                   (National Health and Medical Research              Committee, 2006; Sieber, 1992)                                                  (Griffith University Academic Registrar,
                                                lead to monoculture in dining?
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Council, 2001; Sieber, 1992)                                                                                                       2001)

Longitudinal studies                            Analysis of repeat visitor      satisfaction with Making explicit procedures for tracking Seeing consent as an ongoing process                     Staff changes//Long term view of department t Safety and security of personnel information Stakeholders may change over time and Ensuring that when researcher and
(Ritchie, 2005)                                 front desk interactions at a specific hotel chain participants’ contact details during study (Sieber, 1992; Silverman, 2000).                                                                    maintained over time.                        this may develop into a conflict of interest. participant changes occur that their
                                                                                                  periods if same cohort group is to be                                                                                                          (Sieber, 1992; Veal, 2006)                   (Ritchie, 2005)                               contributions are suitably recognised with
                                                                                                  maintained throughout the study                                                                                                                                                                                                           the limits of any anonymity agreements.
                                                Might this encourage disneyfication of the
                                                travel experience?
Case studies                              Study of success factors of small to medium         Cross-cultural      studies utilise  culturally Participant and project appropriate       consent Changing circumstances of business may                Care in protecting case study participants Cultural sensitivity may preclude some Ensuring intellectual property rights are
(Beeton, 2005; Morgan, 1997; Stake, 1995; indigenous tourism enterprises                      appropriate ways of behaving, interacting and mechanisms.                                         mean non-success/Research may have to                 and enterprises by use of pseudonyms and aspects form research processes          constantly negotiated in the process of the
Travers, 2001; Yin, 1994)                                                                     recruiting participants                         (Castellano, 2004; Ermine et al., 2004)           broaden to determine the antecedents of               non-identifying writing styles. (Sieber, 1992; (Sieber, 1992; Stake, 1995).       research.
                                          Can we really examine these through the
                                                                                              (Castellano, 2004; Ermine et al., 2004; Flick,                                                    successful and non-successful businesses              Veal, 2006)                                                                       (Marshall & Batten, 2004; Sieber, 1992)
                                          hegemony of business discourse?
                                                                                              2006; Liberman, 1999)

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