Archived Webinar: Teaching Ethics for Research Methods

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In this archived webinar, guest Craig A. Mertler of Arizona State University draws on his more than three decades as an educator to discuss how to teach ethics in research methods courses.

The good news, says Mertler, is that this isn’t difficult content. But the bad news, he quickly adds, is getting grad students and early career researchers to understand how important it is to conduct themselves ethically in their work. “Ethics, and ethical behavior of researchers is such a contextualized issue,” he details in this hour-long presentation. “On the surface they are very straightforward concepts, but once you put them within a context they become much more complicated and sometimes convoluted,” especially since any research with humans at its core is never fully standardized.

In his wide-ranging overview of ethical research, followed by a half-hour of questions from the audience, Mertler addresses four different broad areas of focus, starting with a requirement that research subjects be protected from harm. And not just physical harm, he stresses, but stress and reputational damage – even if the researcher doesn’t intend or didn’t originally foresee that such harm was possible.

Mertler further fleshes out his outline by talking about voluntary and informed participation, the right to privacy (“likely the most sensitive aspect of ethical considerations,” he says), and appropriate use of data.

In addition to his time as an educational researcher and administrator, he has served as the research methodology expert on more than 100 doctoral dissertations and master’s theses. Mertler has also written 23 books, including his most recent for SAGE Publishing, the second edition to his Introduction to Educational Research. which came out in February.

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