Ethical Issues in Data Collection

Ethical Issues in Data Collection

In addition to preparing what data will be collected, researchers also need to respect the participants and the places to be studied. Many ethical issues arise during the data collection stage.

Do not harm participants, and respect groups prone to violence. Open research proposals submitted should have been reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or similar institutions in their universities. The IRB committee is built on the basis of government regulations to prevent violence or human rights violations. 

For a researcher, IRB is needed to review the possibility of research risks, such as physical, psychological, social, economic, or legal risks (Sieber,1998), which may appear suddenly. In addition, researchers also consider the specific needs of communities prone to violence, such as young children (under the age of 19), mentally weak participants, victims of violence or disasters, prisoners, and individuals affected by AIDS. 

Researchers should also keep a research proposal containing procedures and information about participants on their campus IRB committee to which the committee may review the extent to which the proposal reaches subjects or participants who are at risk. In addition to this Proposal, researchers must also create a written consent form signed by participants before they engage in research. This form explains that the participant's rights will be safeguarded during data collection. The elements in the form may include some information as follows (Sarantakos, 2005):

  1. * Information about the researcher
  2. * Information about the sponsoring institution
  3. * Information on participant selection procedures
  4. * Information on research objectives
  5. * Information about the benefits for participants
  6. * Information on levels and types of participant engagement
  7. * Natation of Risks for participants
  8. * Confidentiality guarantee for participants
  9. * Guarantee that the participant can withdraw at any time 
  10. * Clause names of persons who can be contacted if there are questions

One of the issues that should be anticipated in relation to confidentiality guarantees is that some participants may have their identities withheld. If this is the case, researchers should ask them to keep their opinions to themselves and free them to make decisions. However, they should also be informed of the risks of such secrecy, such as the possible disclosure of data in the final report that they may not have expected, information that may go beyond the rights of others should be hidden, and so on (Giardano, O'reilly, Taylor, & Dogra, 2007).

  • Besides, another ethical procedure that the researcher has to fulfill during the data collection is the consent of authorized individuals (like, security guards) to provide access for the researcher to conduct his research. Such procedures often require the researcher to write a letter describing the duration of the study, the potential impact, and the results of the study. Similarly, data acquisition through interviews or electronic surveys must also be accompanied by the permission of the participants. This is done, first by sending an application email and then conducting surveys and interviews.
  • Researchers must also respect the locations studied so that they do not get interference after conducting research. This task requires the researcher, particularly in qualitative research, to engage in continuous observation or interviewing at the site, be aware of the consequences, and must not damage the physical fabric of that location. For example, if you have time to visit, researchers can also “infiltrate” into the activities of participants. Otherwise, the researcher must first ask permission. Moreover, some organizations today already have their own rules for people who want to conduct research so that there is no destruction in their place.
  • In experimental studies, the only thing that benefits from the study is the treated group (or often with the experimental group). The control group got nothing. To avoid this, researchers need to conduct several experiments for all groups at a time or gradually so that these groups can take them evenly
  • Ethical issues also arise when there is no mutuality between researchers and participants. Both researchers and participants should be able to take advantage of the research. Often, however, the opposite is true: power is misused and participants are forced to get involved in the project. For this reason, involving participants collaboratively in research may be able to bring about such multitasking. Truly collaborative research, as in some qualitative research, can involve participants as co-researchers in the research process, such as designing research, collecting and analyzing data, writing research reports, and disseminating research results (Patton, 2002).
  • Interviews in qualitative research seem to have been increasingly viewed as moral research (Kvale, 2007). To that end, the interviewer must ascertain several important things, such as whether the interview can improve the human situation (as well as increase scientific knowledge), how sensitive the participants ' morning interview interactions are, whether the participants have said about what their statements should be interpreted, how critical the questions should be asked, and what consequences the interviewer and participant will receive from the results of the interview
  • Researchers also need to anticipate the possibility of harmful and intimate information being disclosed during the data collection process. It is difficult to anticipate and plan the impact of this information during or after the interview (Patton, 2002). For example, students may talk about their parents ' abuse: or inmates talk about their escape from prison. In these situations, it is common for the researcher's code of ethics (which may differ from one another) to protect the privacy of the participants, and the task of the study is to communicate this protection to all participants who are also involved in the study.

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