Negotiating access ethics and the problems of inside research
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Negotiating access, ethics and the problems of ‘inside’ research. Researchers have to ask permission to have access to an institution, an organization or to materials.

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  • Researchers have to ask permission to have access to an institution, an organization or to materials.

  • People will be doing you a favor if they agree to help, and they will need to know exactly what they will be asked to do, how much time they will be expected to give and what use will be made of the information they provide.

  • At an early stage, permission to carry out an investigation must always be sought.

  • As soon as you have an agreed project outline and have read enough to convince yourself that the topic is feasible, it is advisable to make a formal, written approach to the individuals and organization s concerned , outlining your plans.

Ethical guidelines and protocols
Ethical guidelines and protocols a diploma or degree course, say that is what you are doing.

  • Many organizations, such as hospitals and university department involved in research with human subjects will have ethics committees which have responsibility for ensuring that any research proposals conforms to approved principles and conditions

  • Some are designed to be read out at the start of interviews, explaining that participation is voluntary, that participants are free to refuse to answer any questions and may withdraw from the interview at any time.

  • Many promise confidentiality and anonymity, buy it may be more difficult to fulfill such promises than might at first have been thought.

  • Subjects should never be expected to sign any protocol form unless they had time to read and consider the implications.

  • All researchers will be aiming at the principle of ‘informed consent’ which requires careful preparation involving explanation and consultation before any data collecting begins.

Informed consent form unless they had time to read and consider the implications.

Huang Yu-Hsiu

Department of

Educational Studies

University of York


for participation in research

The purpose of this document is to make explicit the nature of the proposed involvement between the researcher and the person agreeing to supply information (the participants), and to record that the research subjects understand and are happy with the proposed arrangements.

The researcher The research in charge of this study is Mphil/Ph.D. student Huang Yu-Hsiu in the Department of Educational Studies, University of York.

The research The purpose of the research is to investigate the impact of ICT, ideology, and culture on women’s language learning.

What participation in the study will involve Participants will be asked to grant one focus group up to an hour duration. The focus group will be recorded on audiotape. It is understood that the participants are free to decline to answer any question, to terminate the discussion at any time and to require any section of the recording be deleted.

Use of the Data unless they had time to read and consider the implications. The aim will be eventually to present the research, along with data collected in other parts of the study, in appropriate contexts, academic and professional, through publications, conference presentations, teaching and so on. If so requested the researcher will refrain from using data that the subject considers sensitive. The participants will be given copies of any publications based on the research.

Anonymity of participants All information acquired will be treated as confidential. Unless specifically agreed otherwise, references in publications, talks etc, to particular jobs, organisations, individuals etc. will be anonymised and features might make identification easy will be removed.

Declaration by the research subject: I have read and am happy with the arrangements as set out above.

Signature of participants

Researcher’s signature


  • Blaxter et al (1996) summarize the principles of research ethics as follows:

    Research ethics is about being clear about the nature of the agreement you have entered into with your research subjects or contacts. This is why contracts can be a useful device. Ethical research involves getting the informed consent of those you are going to interview, question, observe or take materials from. It involves reaching agreements about the uses of this data, and how its analysis will be reported and disseminated. And it is about keeping to such agreement when they have been reached.

A word of warning
A word of warning. research checklist

  • If at some time in the future, colleagues or other research workers ask you for cooperation with a project, would you be willing to give the same amount of time and effort as you are asking for yourself? If not, perhaps you are asking too much.