Monthly Archives: November 2018

Ethical consideration should not be taken for granted

These days the presence of the ethical consideration in research and its importance in data collection process allows all researchers to converge the attention on ethical manners that was just unprecedented before.

I used to associate the word ‘ethics’ with good manners in behavior, e.g. ‘table manner’ and did not take it seriously as a whole important  procedure. After enrolling to Nazarbayev University my awareness on research just turned upside down. Now I realized how it is important to take into account all ethical procedures meticulously and treat participants of the research in an ethical way in order to avoid any violation of human rights. As far as I understood from the article “Research Ethics Review as One way to Protect Human Subjects and Not Only” written by Ispambetova Botagoz (n.d), there were some studies conducted in the past which violated the rights of human beings including prisoners and some people from the poorer sections of the world. These earth-shattering actions were a strike against research development because people refused to take part in the research which brought them harmful effects. Human solidarity and ethical considerations demand that this unfortunate impression be dispelled. Times have changed and taking advantage of miscellaneous ethical codes such as The Nuremberg Code of Ethics (1949), Helsinki Declaration (1964), and Belmont Report (1979) now it enables to protect people from physical, emotional and psychological harm during any study.  Those impressive achievements which mentioned in the article should not be taken for granted. In other words, any study which involves human subjects should inject ethical considerations into the work. 

Before submitting my Ethics Review to NU GSE Research Committee I tried to abide by the ethical terms and double checked the Ethics part because even if the study involves minimal risks and participants are over 18, ethical considerations should be meticulously reviewed for accuracy and consistency. Also It was essential to describe clearly how I am going to recruit participants to the research, because as it implies in the article any participation should be voluntary, people have the right to withdraw participation at any time without penalty. 

To conclude, I want to clarify one more time that if any researcher who has to conduct the research were not trained to emphasize research ethics over profits would fail anyway. It is expected from any researcher to find new ways to respond to today’s changes: such as an ethic of solidarity, a passion for peace, and the promotion of respect for human beings.

Unethically conducted studies!!!


“20 Most Unethical Experiments in Psychology” showed Google’s first page, when I searched for unethically conducted studies in the history. It was terrifying and shocking to read. It is completely unbelievable to what extent so-called scientists and doctors could harm people for the sake of science or just test their “stupid” hypothesis. These so-called studies involved people of different ethnic background, prisoners, children, and orphans. Terrible!

If someone asked me about ethics in conducting research a year ago, I would have doubted its necessity. But now, I am really concerned with ethical issues as it may cause a deplorable situation to my potential participants. What if my study causes demotion or even dismissal to my potential participants? What if my study causes severe embarrassment to them? Currently, I am thinking long and hard to avoid such a risky situation. I know that teachers and parents are not considered to be a vulnerable population, but, I agree with Dr. Ispambetova (2017) that all people are vulnerable in one way or another. Therefore, I am trying to take all the possible steps to prevent their identification by the school administration.

Dr. Ispambetova (2017) acknowledges the importance of establishing institutionalized research ethics review boards. Which is really must-have for higher education institutions that aim at developing research; all researchers be they novice or experienced should follow Code of Ethics of their institution. If those “so-called researchers” had studied or followed ethical issues of their institutions, who knows, those «20 Most Unethical Experiments in Psychology” could not have been practiced, or at least could have been less.

Reading Dr. Ispambetova’s (2017) article and the other one, I see an urgent need for the educational policy that obliges the development and control of IRB and IREC for all institutions that are engaged in any type of research. Hope, there is one in our country.
So, overall, what are your thoughts of Ethics as a novice researcher?



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