Research ethics and basic ethical theories
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Research Ethics and Basic Ethical Theories. Tools for reflection on and evaluation of educational research (?) Jon Magne Vestøl Department of Teacher Education and School Development. Status and challenge. Research Ethics characteristics

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Research ethics and basic ethical theories

Research Ethicsand Basic Ethical Theories

Tools for reflection on and evaluation of educational research (?)

Jon Magne Vestøl

Department of Teacher Education and School Development


Status and challenge

Status and challenge

  • Research Ethics characteristics

    • Concrete level: Normative, undisputed rules (guidelines or ”commandments”)

    • Meta level: Historical surveys and reflections on specific topics

    • Historical development driven by major research ”accidents”.

  • The challenge

    • Lack of theory based tools/concepts suitable for critical examination of a research process and research report.


Outline

Outline

  • 3 cases

  • Map of four ethical perspectives

  • Short presentation of each perspective

  • Ethical perspectives and cases


Case 1

Case 1

  • Research project: Identity constructions among 2nd generation Pakistan-Norwegian teen age girls

  • Method: Interview study

  • Aspect of interest: Contact with potential informants who live secret ”double lives”

  • Ethical conflict:

    • Important information for authorities and scientific community. Potential publicity for researcher.

    • Danger of identification as result of rumors and media focus


Case 2

Case 2

  • Research project: Evaluation strategies among secondary school science teachers

  • Method: Interview and observation

  • Aspect of interest: Mapping ideological positions, from positivism to constructivism

  • Ethical conflict:

    • Importance of research topic: displaying a specter of positions among teachers

    • Anonymous informants recognizable among own colleges. Risk of portraying teachers as ideologically out of time.


Case 3

Case 3

  • Research project: Evaluation of an education program developed for the promotion of student’s participation in secondary school democracy.

  • Method: Survey study

  • Aspect of interest: Significant differences between schools. One school with particularly poor results.

  • Ethical conflict

    • Important knowledge for policy makers: major factors of influence.

    • Vulnerable anonymity of school with poor results. Leaving out characteristics make results less valuable.


Research ethics and basic ethical theories

Four main traditions

RELATION

Are basic aspects of trust maintained?Are all affected persons seen and heard?

(Add-ons from developmental & educational research)

Levinas

Løgstrup

Gilligan

Noddings

closenessperson

Aristoteles

MacIntyre

Bentham

Mill

Hare

Values

VIRTUE

CONSEQUENCE

Are the actions duly motivated? Are the actions likely to form a character (individually or collectively) of virtue (or vice)?

Do the actions have positive results (produce the maximum common best)?

distancematter

DUTY/PRINCIPLES

Kant

Habermas

Rawls

Kohlberg

Are the actions in accordance with basic moral principles (justice)?


An african perspective source wikipedia

An African Perspective?(Source: Wikipedia)

Ethno-philosophy

Traditional wisdomEmotions instead of logic

Persons ?

Philosophical sagacity

The reflections of the “sages”

National-ideological philosophy

Ideas ?

Professional philosophyKawaida: identity as dialog with African cultures


Ethics of principles duties

Ethics of principles/duties

  • Immanuel Kant

    • The categorical imperative

      • Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law

      • Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end

  • Jürgen Habermas

    • Discourse ethics: The force of the better argument

  • John Rawls

    • Overlapping consensus

    • Unbiased justice: ethical judgments independent of contextual circumstances. (The”veil of ignorance”)

  • Kohlberg: the superiority of the universal perspective (not the particular and relational)

  • Relevance for research ethics

    • Research as a conduct of universal principles securing all participators mutual strength and balanced influence in a rational discourse.

  • Critical questions

    • Unbiased rationality – ideal or deception? (Positivism in disguise?)

    • Rationality overriding relation? (Patriarchal power in disguise?)

    • Universal or Western principles? (Cultural imperialism in disguise?)

Kant

Habermas

Rawls

Kohlberg


Ethics of consequences utilitarian perspective

Ethics of consequences (utilitarian perspective)

  • Jeremy Bentham

    • Calculations of lust (quantitative evaluation)

  • John Stuart Mill

    • Utilitarian perspective: actions that promote the common best (qualitative evaluation)

  • Richard Hare

    • Utilitarian perspective focusing on preferences: actions that fulfill the wishes of the parts involved

  • Relevance for research ethics

    • The consequences of the research process and of the presentation of the research.

  • Critical perspectives

    • Individualism versus collective view (researcher, institution, local community, global community?)

    • Analysis: quantity and quality, how to measure the results

    • Definition of values (who define “the common best”: the researcher, the employer, the community?)

Bentham

Mill

Hare


Ethics of relations care

Ethics of relations/care

  • Søren Løgstrup:

    • The moral challenge: trust implies responsibility and power

  • Emanuel Levinas:

    • The absolute challenge of the Face of the Other

  • Løgstrup and Levinas: The asymmetric relation

    • Being totally handed over (“utleverthet”)

    • A one sided challenge (“ensidig fordring”) : care without any promise of “reward”

  • Gilligan and Noddings: care as a basic ethical value

  • Relevance for research ethics

    • The vulnerable position of informants

  • Critical perspectives

    • Is the challenge undisputable (ontological status)?

    • Should the relational & individual override the interests of organizations and society?

  • Løgstrup

    Levinas

    Gilligan

    Noddings


    Ethics of virtues

    Ethics of virtues

    • Aristotle

      • Good deeds are based in a good character: the joy of doing the right

    • Alasdair MacIntyre

      • Critical evaluation of ethical individualism

      • Virtues based in community practice

      • Examples: justice, courage, honesty

    • Relevance for research ethics

      • The implications of research for individual and societal virtues (or vices)

    • Critical questions

      • Research virtues as mirror of virtues of society, or a sort of “higher standard”?

      • Individual virtues or community virtues (researcher and research community)?

      • Could embodied/internalized research virtues compromise ideals of impartiality?

    Aristoteles

    MacIntyre


    Research ethics and basic ethical theories

    Research ethics - check listFrom Forskningsetisk veileder, published by Den nasjonale forskningsetiske komité for naturvitenskap og teknologi (NENT) i 1992

    • 1. The goals and methods of the project

      • Do the project contradict generally accepted values? (Manipulation, environment disturbance, military implications, violation of animal protection etc.) (Universal principles?)

    • 2. The rights of participants/informants

      • Informed and independent consent. (Universal principles?)

    • 3. Data displaying personal information

      • Anonymity to protect the security of participants. (Universal principles and relations?)

    • 4. Risk and security

      • Risk of damage to humans, animals or nature known and accepted? (Universal principles, consequences and relations?)

    • 5. Whistle-blowing – built in warning system

      • Will it be possible for participants to raise objections and will the objections be treated by an independent body? (Universal principles and relations?)

    • (Lecturers comments on possible implicit perspectives. Be also aware of implicit values.)


    Cases revisited

    Cases revisited


    Case 11

    Case 1

    • Research project: Identity constructions among 2nd generation Pakistan-Norwegian teen age girls

    • Method: Interview study

    • Aspect of interest: Contact with potential informants who live secret ”double lives”

    • Ethical conflict:

      • Important information for authorities and scientific community. Potential publicity for researcher.

      • Danger of identification as result of rumors and media focus

    • Lecturer’s comments:

      • Relations: care for informants versus neglect of informants

      • Duties/principles: individual right versus truth?

      • Consequences: individual goods versus needs of society

      • Virtues: compassion versus neglect?


    Case 21

    Case 2

    • Research project: Evaluation strategies of secondary school science teachers

    • Method: Interview and observation

    • Aspect of interest: Mapping ideological positions, from positivism to constructivism

    • Ethical conflict:

      • Importance of displaying a specter of positions among teachers

      • Anonymous informants recognizable among own colleges. Risk of portraying teachers as ideologically out of date.

    • Lecturer’s comments:

      • Relations: care for informants versus neglect of informants

      • Duties/principles: individual right versus search for truth?

      • Consequences: individual goods versus valuable information

      • Virtues: compassion versus neglect?


    Case 31

    Case 3

    • Research project: Evaluation of education program to stimulate student’s participation in secondary school democracy.

    • Method: Survey study

    • Aspect of interest: Significant differences between schools. One school with particularly poor results.

    • Ethical conflict

      • Important knowledge for policy makers: major factors of influence.

      • Vulnerable anonymity of school with poor results. Leaving out characteristics make results less valuable.

    • Lecturer’s comments:

      • Relations: care for informants versus neglect of informants

      • Duties/principles: individual right versus search for truth

      • Consequences: individuals versus society

      • Virtues: compassion versus neglect


    Additional info

    Additional info


    Research ethics guidelines for social science humanistic studies law studies and theology

    Research Ethics: Guidelines for social science, humanistic studies, law studies and theology

    • 1. The basic values of research

      • Research should accept common principles like honesty and integrity, impartiality and awareness of own fallability.

    • 2. The role of research for society, culture and language

      • Research should be conducted to the benefit of society

    • 3. The importance of independent research

      • Institutions should respect and promote independent research and not restrict controversial research

    • 4. Promotion and enforcement of principles of research ethics

      • An obligation for institutions and individual researchers.


    Research and individuals

    Research and individuals

    • 5. Respect for human dignity and human rights

    • 6. Respect for the integrity, autonomy and cooperation of informants

    • 7. Protection of participants from danger and damage

    • 8. Respect for participants’ right of proper information about the purpose, methods and financial sources.

    • 9. Respect for participants’ right to free and informed consent.

    • 10. Respect for the rules of registration and permission to handle personal information.

    • 11. Awareness of the possible consequences for third parts

    • 12. Awareness of the particular rights of children.

    • 13. Respect for participants’ privacy

    • 14. Respect for the principle of confidentiality

    • 15. Awareness of restrictions concerning reuse of personal information

    • 16. Principles of proper storage and time limits for storage.

    • 17. Restrictions concerning research on people who are no longer alive.

    • 18. Respect for peoples’ values and attitudes.

    • 19. Information about the limitations of the results and the role of the researcher


    Research and institutions

    Research and institutions

    • 20. Paying respect to the legitimate secrecy of institutions.

    • 21. Public institutions should be open to research

    • 22. Paying respect to vulnerable groups

    • 23. The researcher should maintain independence

    • 24. The researcher should respect the protection of cultural heritage

    • 25. Research in foreign cultures demands particular awareness

    • 26. Respect for cultural differences should be balanced against the limitations defined by human rights


    Research and the research society

    Research and the research society

    • 27. Pay respect to scientific integrity

    • 28. No accept of plagiarism

    • 29. Decent use of references

    • 30. Making research data available for further research

    • 31. Evaluations should be fair and unbiased

    • 32. Cooperation should contribute to fair and (self)critical research communities

    • 33. Students and their work should not be misused for scientific or personal purposes

    • 34. Supervisors and project leaders should not ignore ethical aspects of the project


    Research on demand

    Research on demand

    • 35. There should be a balance between different kinds of research

    • 36. Public and private Styring av forskningsoppdrag

    • Både offentlige og private oppdragsgivere har en legitim rett til å fastsette rammene for

    • forskningsoppdrag, så lenge de ikke er i strid med de øvrige krav som stilles til forskningen.

    • Det fritar imidlertid ikke forskerne og forskningsinstitusjonene for medansvar for de avtaler

    • som de inngår med oppdragsgivere.

    • 37. Forskningsinstitusjonene og den enkelte forsker

    • Forskere som inngår i større forskningsprosjekter har et medansvar for de prosjektene han

    • eller hun er med på. Den enkelte forskers bidrag i forskningsprosjektet bør gjøres klart.

    • 38. Forskeres og forskningsinstitusjoners uavhengighet

    • Forskere og forskningsinstitusjoner skal sørge for å opprettholde uavhengighet i forhold til

    • oppdragsgiver.

    • 39. Informasjon om finansiering av forskning

    • Det påligger både oppdragsgivere og forskere å gjøre offentlig kjent hvem som finansierer

    • forskningen.

    • 40. Bruk av forskningsresultatene

    • Både oppdragsgivere og forskere har et ansvar for å hindre at resultatene av forskningen

    • fremstilles på en misvisende måte. Det er uetisk å avgrense emnet for forskningen med sikte

    • på å få frem særlig ønskelige resultater, eller fremstille resultatene fra forskningen på en

    • bevisst skjev måte.

    • 41. Rett til offentliggjøring

    • Kunnskap er et kollektivt gode, alle forskningsresultater bør derfor som hovedregel publiseres.

    • Det er også viktig for at resultatene kan etterprøves. For forskere er publisering viktig

    • for meritering.


    Forskningsformidling

    Forskningsformidling

    • 42. Formidling som faglig oppgave

    • Spesialiserte forskningsmiljøer skal sørge for at vitenskapelig kunnskap formidles til et

    • bredere publikum utenfor forskningsmiljøet.

    • 43. Krav til individer og institusjoner

    • Det påligger forskningsinstitusjonene å legge forholdene til rette for en mangfoldig og

    • omfattende forskningsformidling, preget av kvalitet og relevans.44. Tverrfaglig diskusjon og demokratisk allmennhet

    • En viktig del av forskningsformidlingen i et moderne samfunn bør bestå i gjensidig popularisering

    • (oversettelse) mellom spesialister fra forskjellige forskningsområder.

    • 45. Deltakelse i samfunnsdebatt og ansvar for hvordan forskning tolkes

    • Forskere bør bidra til det offentlige ordskifte med vitenskapsbasert argumentasjon.

    • 46. Formidling og etterrettelighet

    • Kravet om etterrettelighet er like sterkt ved forskningsformidling som ved forskningspublisering.

    • 47. Krav om å tilbakeføre forskningsresultater

    • Forskeren har en spesiell forpliktelse til å tilbakeføre forskningsresultatene til deltakerne,

    • i en forståelig og forsvarlig form.


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