Let’s take a big-picture look at “research ethics”

Categories: Research, Research Design, Research Ethics


In the first quarter of 2021 we explored design steps, starting with a January focus on research questions. We continued to learn about the design stage in February by focusing on Choosing Methodology and Methods.  For March, the focus is on Designing an Ethical Study.

While some may think that research ethics refers to the paperwork and guidelines associated with a pre-research proposal review, clearly, ethical questions are associated with the very foundations of research practice.

In a recent video interview with February Mentors-in-Residence Pengfei Zhao, Karen Ross, Peiwei Li and Barbara Dennis, we touched on some important questions. One stuck in my mind: Who gets to be a researcher? Who has access to the research training associated with a doctoral degree? Who gets to define research problems, based on what assumptions and lived experiences? These questions point to the larger ecosystem of academic training and support, and precede the specific steps associated with research design.

Some might think that these questions belong in the realm of social justice, or perhaps in the economic realm because higher education and research funding issues are involved. Certainly many of the questions illustrated here are beyond the scope of an Ethics Review or Institutional Review Board. But I invite you to think of these issues as intrinsically linked to research ethics. In this month’s series of MethodSpace posts we’ll try to tackle some of them. Follow this tag to read the unfolding series of posts.

Relevant MethodSpace Posts

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