Tag Archives: research

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?



Photo credit: http://deevybee.blogspot.com

Research for Beginners: Handling Participant Vulnerability

A professor would iterate that we do research to bring change by raising the voices of the unheard. Though a valid motive, it does not prevent a novice researcher from contemplating the worth of recruiting vulnerable subjects given the ethical considerations. In case there is a strong commitment to cover a topic with less protected participants, I believe one needs sufficient justification and preparation.

First and foremost, ask yourself if the benefit research subjects gain outweighs the imposed threat (Weisser-Lohmann, 2012). Ethical guidelines and requirements from supervisors possibly tie your hands either explicitly or implicitly. Yet vulnerable groups deserve accessing the advantages of research as well as shedding light on their issues (Bracken-Roche, Bell, Macdonald & Racine, 2017). Having someone armed with science and authority willing to tell your story is a substantial incentive itself. Participants whose voices were heard would also not only give courage to their peers but also set an example for the latter to follow and make more valuable contributions to research. Provided the scholar is set to benefit the individuals under the scope, it is best not to exclude them from research solely based on their vulnerability.


I am not convinced motivation to partake in data collection diminishes the harm participants may suffer unless the investigator is prepared to explore the matter ethically. Conducting procedures conscientiously necessitates “beneficence of treatment of participants, respect for participants, and justice” (Creswell, 2014, p. 36). Emerging researchers such as us would especially need to abide by the mentioned basic principles. Treating every step of our study with care and emotional investment should become a habit nurtured from the very first projects we conduct since that seems to correlate to securing study partakers from imaginable perils.

Working with the vulnerable population to fulfil one’s duty as a researcher requires additional mindfulness in terms of ethics and preparation. It is key to make sure participants will gain more than what they may lose. More than that, preparedness to proceed ethically throughout the study is a primary consideration.

What is your idea of working with vulnerable people? Would you recommend anything else to those willing to engage in such projects?



Bracken-Roche, D., Bell, E., Macdonald, M. E., & Racine, E. (2017). The concept of ‘vulnerability’ in research ethics: an in-depth analysis of policies and guidelines. Health Research Policy and Systems, 15(8), 1-18.

Creswell, J. (2014). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research: International edition (4th ed.), Ch. 1. Electronic Package. Boston: Pearson.

Weisser-Lohmann, E. (2012). Ethical aspects of vulnerability in research. Poiesis Prax, 9, 157–162.