A personal philosophy of ethical practice using core values and essential principles and practices for doctoral research in the field of education should encompass intent, practice and the final use of the materials. To conduct oneself ethically involves more than doing the right thing. Ethical conduct must include acting in the right spirit. Setting out with the right intent and obeying the rules is not sufficient, ethical conduct must also abiding respect and concern for other individuals.
Ethical conduct for doctoral research in the field of education is particularly sensitive and demanding. Unlike research undertaken for commercial purposes, education research is done with or about people. Subjects involved in education research expect a higher standard of ethics from an education doctoral candidate than they would from someone doing research on cola preferences. Because of this trust, many subjects grant to an education doctoral candidate a pure ethical ethos should permeate the research in every phase of its evolution.
A great deal of research involves literature review. Many papers require annotated bibliographies in addition to citing to and listing source materials. Responsible dissertation manuscripts require the educational doctoral candidates apply the highest of ethical standards to their literature review prior to conducting any other research. A great deal can be learned from the successes and failures of prior researchers. Additionally, there may be existing studies deserving follow up or expansion that could be more valuable than a primary research study.
There are also materials from sound reputable sources that do not involve academic research literature. These could involve census statistics or information available from resources such as government health department findings. At times, it may be difficult to determine how citations should be done and other writers and researchers work should be acknowledged. An authority, who publishes a paper is responsible for acknowledging those individuals who contributed .
Never the less, citation goes beyond that and it can be extraordinarily difficult to cite to every source for the facts, ideas and concepts used in a particular paper. This paper serves as an example of this. There are thousands of reputable sources for material on the ethics and practice of writing a dissertation. Many of them provide the same information. In this regard it would be best to consult with a mentor who can help guide the student writer through the process of determining when to include citations and who they should be attributed to.
Research is often more than that the results obtained by other researchers and generally published statistics. It can include surveys, case studies and indirect observation methods as well. At every phase of conducting research, the doctoral candidates must apply the highest standards of consideration and ethics to their research methods.
Research for papers such as this one that involves a topic that is addressed in multiple venues must be conducted according to the highest standards, as must their citation methods. Every institute of higher education has a published policy regarding the ethics of educational research. There are also government standards that govern cases involving medical and psychological treatments. Additional standards and approaches may be set by various professional organizations as well. These publications deserve special consideration regarding research methods. This is a situation where assistance from a mentor can prove invaluable.
Writing a Dissertation Manuscript:
When writing a dissertation manuscript an educational doctoral candidate must also take care to apply the highest of ethical standards. This not only includes standards regarding the research its self. As far as possible, the language used should be comprehensible to lay people. Correct English and grammar should be used at all times. . Professional jargon should be avoided. Any professional terms should be set out and explained. Acronyms should be set out using the full term followed by the acronym in parenthesis the first time it is used. The second time this sequence should be reversed and the acronym set out with the term following in parenthesis, subsequent use requires not further clarification. .
Depending on the situation requirements, doctoral candidates may be required to include a Title Page, Abstract and Table of Contents along with the more common Introduction, Discussion and Conclusion. There are also various way to cite references including footnotes, endnotes and bibliography. It is generally easier to insert these elements while writing the paper and the author should be clear as to what is required prior to commencing writing. . Other requirements may be one or more separate sections for Implications, Areas for Future Research, Recommendations, and Conclusions. .
Care and Integrity:
Care and integrity should be incorporated in every phase of writing on doctoral research in the field of education. This starts before the first work reaches the page. It begins in the heart and mind of the education doctoral candidate. This initial self evaluation helps insure that he or she is acting in the right spirit, setting out with the right intent. Ethical conduct encompasses a deep abiding respect and concern for other individuals. Obeying the rules is just the start, it is not even a minimum standard with regard to doctoral level education research.
Research must be undertaken with the best intents in mind, however care and integrity does not stop there it should accompany the work every step of the way. Informed consent must be obtained with every consideration given to personal, religious and cultural sensitivity. Data storage should be done to insure the subjects’ privacy. Writing the paper itself must be conducted to avoid plagiarism of not just words, but also ideas, and concepts. All individuals who contributed to prior work should be acknowledged. The final resulting paper should not be published if all it does is advance the writers career. Due care must be taken to insure that a published paper also advances the body of work on the subject of education, even then it should be published through only one source unless prior consent is obtained from both publishers prior to publication.
Ethical Standards of Scientific Research:
It is not just enough to justify departures from the ethical principles regarding matter involving issues such as informed consent in terms of the necessity to the scientific aims of the project. There are other concerns to be considered when determining an appropriate research method. These can be generally determined however; regard must also be given to any cultural factors that may apply.
While it is obvious that fabrication or falsification of data is a serious form of misconduct it should also be remembered that any preliminary reporting prior to full data analysis is also to be avoided. All findings should be analyzed, substantiated and reported in such a manner so that they can be verified as part of the peer review process. Record keeping is a sound scientific practice providing an accurate account of observations. This account then becomes a permanent reference for the researcher and can be incorporated into future work.
Published Ethical Guidelines and Concepts To Research:
Although “publish or perish” is an oft-used phrase regarding many of the research reports done, that is not the true reason paper should be published. When deciding to publish, a doctoral candidate should only publish his or her work in order to advance research and scholarship. The decision should not rest on career advancement. In addition it is wasteful not meaningful to publish duplicative research. .
The Educational community is among those that have established ethical norms regarding authorship, data sharing, and confidentiality especially for papers that are subject to in peer review. These standards are designed to protect intellectual property interests many of which go beyond simple plagiarism standards. Adherence to high ethical standards encourage collaboration and furthers the greater common good. .
In addition to avoid publication of material that is duplicative of other research already in publication it is also inappropriate to submit the same research to more than one publisher other than circumstances where the editors of each publication have previously approved this submission of your work. .
Any plagiarism is completely unacceptable. There are strict laws regarding plagiarism that govern how much content can be obtained from a source before it is considered plagiarism. However, ethics and law are not the same. Ethical conduct constitutes a broader yet more nebulous standard. An action may be legal and still considered unethical.. For this reason all possible care must be taken to avoid any amount of plagiarism.
In certain circumstances, identical facts appear in multiple locations and documents. Statistics are frequently derived from government sources, then analyzed and incorporated into other research work.
It is not enough for a researcher to determine that information occurring in such a manner is generally accepted and can be used without a citation. In situations such as this, it is better to cite and give credit to multiple sources than it is to fail to include a citation. This is true regarding data drawn from government sources as well as educational studies. The ethical education doctoral candidates will also gain validity for their work if proper citation ethics are applied.
It is not just enough to avoid quoting or paraphrasing another scholar’s words, appropriate recognition must also be granted for ideas and concepts include in academic papers. This includes concepts and interpretations for the primary generator as well as to any other individuals ho may have made lesser contributions, provided advice, analysis or subject material. .
Risk assessment includes risks to any individual’s physical well-being, stress and emotional distress. For those persons who are voluntarily participating as subjects in surveys or as case studies that includes direct stress resulting from research methods as well as that which may occur if the information is inappropriately accessed. In addition to insuring that the confidential information is securely stored, in only one single hard copy there needs to be a separation of results and personal information. After the data is analyzed, only the data will be sorted should be used and accessed in order to prove the hypothesis.
There is also the possibility of cultural or moral offence regarding any research project. This can occur in a variety of way and highlights the importance of full disclosure of every factor involved regarding research methods, particularly those that directly engage the subjects. This goes beyond the simple consideration that a subject may take offence at being asked his or her gender and ethnic background. The responses to those questions should be totally voluntary. However, once the initial hypothesis has been determined it may prove useful to also determine if there are external influences that make the research methods unacceptable to some subjects. An example of this would be candid photography. At times, it is help for a researcher to film or photograph the subjects as they work their way through the material. Although disclosure of this is better done after the study is completed, there may arise situations where cultural mores or religious doctrine prohibits this practice. The people studied may suffer severe emotional distress if they are subject to culturally or religiously prohibited study methods. Every care must be taken to avoid violating any standards that a subject may have.
Informed consent is vital when conducting any research with human subjects. The standards for educational doctoral research should provide the highest standards of obtaining and documenting informed consent. There should be no doubt that all participants acted on a voluntary basis. In order to do this, the informed written consent should be obtained in advance from all participants. In the case of children subjects involved in educational, this consent should also be obtained from their legal representatives. In order for this consent to be considered informed the information provided in order to obtain the consent of participants must be adequate and explain more than just the process. Whenever possible appropriate information should include the purpose of the research, the methods to be used, and how broadly the research results will be disseminated. There are times when full disclosure could result in distorted results. In that event, the candidate should turn to her or his mentor to determine the correct course of action and degree of disclosure appropriate to the situation.
Privacy and Confidentiality:
Every consideration must be taken to insure the privacy and confidentiality of the subjects polled, studied or involved in any other way in educational doctoral research. This goes beyond just keeping the names confidential. It also involves removing any and all information that could possibly be used to determine the identity of the research subjects. This is particularly important when dealing with individual case studies. However, it also applies to broader research methods as well.
Personal information should be stored so that there is a separation between the case file, the subject name and any additional personal information that may be collected in the research process. Generally this is done by establishing a key code that links the information without revealing personal identities. The key codes should be stored separately, away from the other data and information. .
Data Handling and Reporting:
It is important to consider who will have access to consent forms. In addition to intentional release of the information, care must be taken to insure the confidentiality of the consent forms and all information that may identify a respondent. Therefore, before research is begun the educational doctoral candidate must take pains to be able to preserve the anonymity of data to be gathered. Many universities offer secure on campus storage for physical research such as consent forms and personal information. However, there is also the resulting data to be considered. This data can be vulnerable at many stages of its analysis. Processing the raw data should be done in such a way that no one but the researcher can obtain access. This includes using a computer hat cannot be access via the internet while the data is being worked on and fully clearing the information from the computer after it is processed and the accuracy confirmed. After the doctoral candidate confirms the accuracy of the data, the information should not be entered into any electronic media so there is no chance it can be “hacked” or otherwise accessed electronically. Any digitally recorded materials should be preserved with the same attention and care as afforded to other physical records such as consent forms and personal information.
Mistakes and Negligence:
Mistakes and negligence must be immediately acknowledged and addressed. This is particularly true if any of the subjects’ identities are compromised in any manner at all. This is true where the fault does not originate with the researcher. If there is any chance the secure area, where the data was stored was broached in any way all the subjects must be immediately notified. If a researcher subsequently discovers an underlying source included fallacious findings, it must be addressed. Mistakes and negligence can occur, however to fail to address them, correct the error and redress any injury anyone may suffer compounds the error.
Working With a Mentor:
Mentors provide vital guidance along the path of ethical conduct regarding research for educational doctoral research. A mentor can guide an educational doctoral candidate through sensitive areas such as informed consent. There are times when fully providing information regarding a research project to subjects could possibly skew the results of the study. A mentor can help the doctoral candidate determine the correct information to present in a situation such as this.
Research for papers that involve a topic addressed in multiple venues can also raise concerns as to where general knowledge leaves off and individual authorship begins. This is particularly true in regards to educational research. There are government standards that pertain to much of the data that is used to the educational researcher. This can vary depending on if there are medical treatment records and psychological case studies incorporated in the research study.
Another area of concern is when government studies and statistics are incorporated in another researcher’s work. In cases like that, the data does not originate with the other professional, but the concept behind its use does. A mentor can assist the doctoral candidate to determine the best manner to cite the concept and acknowledge the data source.
Because of the trust, many subjects grant to an education doctoral candidate a pure ethical ethos should accompany educational research and be a part of every phase of its actuation. This requires a personal philosophy of ethical practice. In order to have that, the education doctorate candidates must examine their own core values and essential principles. These must be evident in all the practices employed to doctoral research in the field of education. These considerations should be implicitly evident in the stated intent of the study, practices involved in research and writing as well as the final use of the materials and publication of the materials.
Ethically involves more than doing the right thing. To conduct oneself ethically involves more than just actions. Educational research should achieve higher standards than acting according to the laws and rules and go further than acting in the right spirit. Educational research must also reflect a deep and abiding respect and concern for others. A personal philosophy of ethical practice using core values and essential principles and practices for doctoral research in the field of education should encompass intent, practice, final use and publication of the materials.
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