An examination of ethical issues pertaining to
The need to ensure that the practice of research within the social
sciences is based on sound ethical principles is not open to debate.
Such principles are essential in order to ensure that conclusions
drawn from research are valid and that the integrity of the methodology
used in arriving at these conclusions is beyond reproach. But what
exactly are these principles, where did they originate from, who
should safeguard them, and how can they be policed?
There is growing concern within the field of educational research
that contemporary approaches to methodology subvert certain ethical
principles and, as a result, bring the entire educational research
discipline into disrepute. This paper attempts to analyse the origin
and importance of ethics within the field of educational research.
The ethical principles that we have come to expect of researchers
are reviewed and commented on, drawing from the current literature
and luminaries on this topic. Immanuel Kant’s contribution
to this debate is reviewed in light of some of the contemporary
approaches to research methodology that are now in vogue within
the field of educational research.
This paper does not attempt to answer all the questions that arise
within the topic discussed, nor does it attempt to resolve all the
apparent inconsistencies that appear to be irreconcilable. The objective
of this paper is to reflect on the main issues, as the author perceives
them, and to draw conclusions as to how some of the more contemporary
approaches to research methodology can coexist with the traditional
methodologies while at the same time ensuring that their techniques
reflect the sound ethical standards that will retain the integrity
essential for their continued acceptance and intrinsic validity.