Discuss the major ethical principles that guide
researchers in their works.
There are three fundamental principles of research ethics according
to Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (2015) which are respect for persons or autonomy, beneficence and justice.
The principle of respect for person or autonomy consists of two requirements
which is first, the individuals should be treated as autonomous which means that the
individual capable of making their own decision about important personal matters.
The individual should only be involved in research if they have voluntarily
give their consent and been fully informed about the nature, purpose and
consequences of the research. The participants’ right need to be respected so that they can make their own
decision whether to participate in the research. The principle of autonomy is people with
diminished autonomy should be protected which is the
protection needs to be adapted to individual circumstances, ensuring that the
persons concerned are not involved in research which could be harmful for them
with regard to a research project. This is because some people in society may
not have the capacity to make fully informed decisions.
Beneficence is the act that is done
for the benefit of others or a duty to ensure the welfare of the persons
concerned. The research should do no harm and maximize benefits for
participants and minimize risks for participants. The purpose of the research
is to discover new information that would be helpful for the society in future.
It shouldn’t cause
harm to anyone or find out information at the expense of other people. There is
dilemma arises from the researcher in this case because to avoid the risks, the
researcher needs to know what is harmful. The evidence obtained from the study
will show whether it is beneficence or not. In order to identify what can
benefit the patients, it may be necessary to exposed them to risks although the
researchers are obligated to do their best to minimize those possible risks and
to maximize the benefits for participants.
The other principal is justice which
is deals with the concept of fairness that is the distribution of burdens,
risks, chances and benefits. Participants need to be treated with equal respect
and concern where the benefits of the research will be shared, where feasible with all of those affected by its
participants will not be excluded from research for reasons unrelated to the
research. Researchers will be cognizant of, and works to mitigate, imbalances
in power between themselves and participants, among individual participants, or
between participants and the groups to which they belong.
than the three previously mentioned fundamental principles of research ethics,
there are also five basic ethical principal (Laerd, 2012) which are minimising
the risk of harm, obtaining informed consent, protecting anonymity and
confidentiality, avoiding deceptive practices and providing the right to
The research that will be conducted must not give harm to the
participants’ physically, psychologically, socially, financially and/or affect
their privacy and anonymity. Researchers need to focus on these elements in
order to minimising the risk of harm.
Obtaining the informed consent from
the participant is essential for the researcher for their study. Informed
consent is needed to make sure the participants is fully understand that they
are taking part in the research study and what the research requires of them.
All of the elements that should be included in the informed consent need to be
fully delivered to the participants and they should fully understand the
consent. The participation of the individuals should be voluntary without being
influence by any person or subjects. The anonymity and confidentiality of the
participant need to be protected as previously mentioned in the anonymity
principal in the fundamental of research ethics.
The fourth principal is to avoid
deceptive practices. This can occur when the researcher provide false or
incomplete information to the participants for the purpose of misleading
research subjects. Dissertation research should avoid any kinds of deceptive
practice while in the covert research, deception is sometimes a necessary
components. Coverts research reflects research where the identity of the
observer and/or the purpose of the research is not known to participants.
The last principal is providing the participants the right to
withdraw from the research study. The participants should have the right to
withdraw themselves from the research study anytime. They should not be
pressured or coerced in any way to try and stop them from withdrawing.