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Research Methodology ASR702 By Reaz Uddin, Ph. D. Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi
Course Contents • Public Safety (Dr. Raza Shah) (2 classes) • Lab Safety (Dr. Raza Shah) (2 classes) • Environment conservations (Dr. Raza Shah) (2 classes) • Scientific Record Keeping (Dr. HinaSiddiqui) (2 classes) • Handling of Research Material (Dr. HinaSiddiqui) (2 classes) • Research Misconduct (Dr. HinaSiddiqui) (2 classes) • Critical Evaluation of Research (Dr. HinaSiddiqui) (2 classes) • Ownership of Data (Dr. HinaSiddiqui) (2 classes) • Research Ethics (Dr. Reaz Uddin) (2 classes) • Scientific Integrity (Dr. Reaz Uddin) (2 classes) • Effective use of computers and internet (Dr. Reaz Uddin) (2 classes) • Publication (Dr. Reaz Uddin) (2 classes) • Communication of Science (Dr. Reaz Uddin) (2 classes) • Students Presentations (Dr. HinaSiddiqui and Dr. Reaz) (10 classes) • Biostatistics (Mr. YaseenMenai) (9 classes)
A question for you to consider. What principles underpin ethical behaviour? What does it mean to be ethical?
Principles of ethical behavior. • Justice. • Beneficence/Non-maleficence. • Respect for others.
But what has ethics got to do with research? Is “pure” research above ethics and morality? Is ethics and morality to do with technology and politics (the appliance of research) not research itself?
Science as a black box SOCIETY • One view of research might be that it is isolated from society – although it influences society it is isolated from it with its own • Sociology • Norms • Ethics TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH POLITICS MANAGEMENT
Research is defined by its special methods • Experimentation, observation, analysis, • Objective • Theorizing • As if it transcends ethical and political considerations Scientific research
Research is a system of organized knowledge above mundane considerations • Archival aspect • Information about natural phenomena • Acquired by research • Organized in coherent theoretical schemes • Published in books and journals • Historical process
But facts are not completely objective – they are not isolated from the society that gave rise to them Facts can only be recorded in the framework of a theory. The history, the environment, the culture, the politics, the religion, the personality of the scientist all influence the theory and therefore the facts recorded. Research cannot be isolated from society and an ethical system Which is brighter, a snowball seen indoors or a lump of coal outside? A bright, sunlit day is about one hundred times brighter than a room lit by electric light. If we use a light meter to measure the absolute number of photons being reflected, the outdoor coal registers a higher value than the indoor snowball. The coal is brighter, and more photons are hitting your retina, sending a stronger signal to your brain.
“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” Mark Twain (1835 - 1910) “If the facts don't fit the theory, change the fact.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) “There are no facts, only interpretations.” Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) “Science is facts; just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science.” Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912) “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.” Sir William Bragg (1862 - 1942) “We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't, it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.” Jassamyn West (1907–1984) It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930)
The separation of academic and industry/technology/society is illusory • Research transforms society AND • The inner workings of science are changed by the social forces acting on it even down to the philosophical and psychological level • Ethical decisions have to be made at all levels in the scientific chain of discovery
SOCIETY Because research has a profound influence on society scientists cannot ignore the consequences of their discoveries TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH Discovery Invention
Research is often a means of solving problems • It is intimately connected with politics, technology and society • Research should be used wisely but this is not for researchers to decide alone
The Impact of Research on Values and Values on Research • Ethical considerations are to therefore with the development of new technologies and new social systems • Society is inherently conservative and seeks to set the limits of research activity I’m damned if they are going to make me redundant
Ethics Review • Morals: Rules that define what is right and wrong • Ethics-process of examining moral standards and looking at how we should interpret and apply such standards in real world situations
Ethics Review • Ethical Principles • Autonomy • Beneficence • Non-maleficence • Justice • Fidelity • Think for a moment … how might these principles relate to research?
Respect for Persons • Treat individuals as autonomous agents • Do not use people as a means to an end • Allow people to make choices for themselves • Provide extra protection to those with limited autonomy • Voluntary Participation • Informed Consent • Protection of Privacy & Confidentiality • Right to Withdraw without Penalty
Beneficence • Acts of kindness or charity that go beyond duty • Obligations derived from beneficence • Do no harm • Prevent harm • Prevent evil • Promote good • Risks are justified by the benefits • Risks are minimized • Conflicts of interest are managed to avoid bias
Justice • Treat people fairly • Fair sharing of burdens and benefits of research • Distinguish procedural justice from distributive justice • Vulnerable subjects are not targeted for convenience • People are not selected as subjects because of their ease of availability or compromised position • People who are likely to benefit are not excluded
Research Ethics: Areas of Focus • Harm • Informed Consent • Confidentiality • Deception • Reporting Results and Plagiarism
Harm • As mentioned before, researchers should take every precaution to ensure that participants are not subjected to undue harm or stress
Informed Consent • Voluntary Informed Consent is essential for research involving human subjects • Informed Consent should include: • Description of the nature of the research • Statement that the research is voluntary and participants can withdraw at any time • Identification of Risks and Benefits • Description of how confidentiality will be protected • Description of compensation • Description of what info researchers will share with participants • Identification of who is responsible for research with contact information
Confidentiality • All information collected in a research project should remain confidential • Data should be locked away in a secure setting • Electronic Databases should also be protected What do you do if you bump into a research participant in Wal-Mart?
Deception • At times, researchers may choose to hide from participants the true nature of the study • Deception by Omission • Withholding important facts from the participants • Deception by Commission • Lie to or purposely mislead research participants
Deception • Staged Manipulations • Also called Event Manipulations • Used for 2 reasons • The researcher may need to create some sort of psychological state (anxiety) • The researcher may need to stage a manipulation to recreate a real-world scenario • Having a participant do one task and then having them do more tasks at the same time • Staged manipulations usually employ a confederate • Also called an accomplice • A confederate is someone who appears to be another participant in an experiment but is really a part of the experiment • Example: Someone who purposely insults a participant in a study in order to provoke anger or frustration
Deception • Another example of the use of confederates: • Asch (1956) study on conformity • Which line is bigger? • 1)--------------------- • 2)----------------------------- • 3)------------------- • Right before a participant had to choose which line was the longest, a confederate announced an incorrect answer • Repeatedly, Asch found that people confirmed to the confederate’s incorrect response
Deception • According to the APA, researchers can use deception under certain conditions: • Participants must be provided with enough information to consent voluntarily • Researchers must convince that deception is necessary to collect data and that it will cause little or no harm • Researchers must arrange to fully inform the patients of the true nature of the study in a timely manner • American Psychological Association
Reporting Research Results • Results of research studies should be reported in a honest, accurate manner • Researchers cannot “massage” data to fit their hypotheses • Researchers cannot make up or report false results • Researcher must report what they find, even if the data does not support their initial hypotheses • Researchers should ensure that data is being collected consistently (do checks of research assistants) • Researchers should give the proper credit (authorship) to those who have earned it
Plagiarism • Comes from the Latin word meaning “to kidnap” • Examples of plagiarism: • Copying someone else’s words without proper citation • Stealing someone else’s ideas • Stealing someone else’s intellectual property Bottom Line: Cite sources properly and minimize quotations in research reports
Ethics Among Researchers • Authorship • Ownership of data • Consultants