Research Ethics & Subject Agreement

Just a quick note on research ethics:

– ask research subjects prior to engaging them in research whether they wish to be involved
– explain exactly what it is you are researching and what is required from them
– don’t seek to manipulate a research subject into participating in research without them knowing
– if anyone does this to you: you may well be within your rights to consider legal action – perhaps explore this and present the idea to them.
– think about whether, as a researcher, you are telling the truth, presenting the truth, distorting the facts as they are, or hiding any evidence
– if you engage children in research then ask their parents first or at least run it by them that you are conducting research that their vulnerable minors are involved in
– if you are SLT in a school, make sure you know what research your staff are up to and safeguard students and other members of the school community accordingly
– before staff in your school conduct any research they should at least complete some kind of pro-forma that outlines the research question, research methods, aims and objectives in brief, and states how and if any human subjects will be involved in the research. This should be signed off by a senior member of the school team to maintain awareness of what is going on and to ensure transparency for record keeping and monitoring. This would also help provide a stagegate for safeguarding of research subjects who may be vulnerable minors, and/or any others, to check if permission has been sought by research subjects or their parents and to keep records as to whether approval has been given.

I doubt sincerely whether any school or teacher would like legal action to be taken against them at a later date for carrying out unethical research.

I also doubt whether any ethical and responsible adult teacher / researcher would knowingly seek to carry out or endorse any unethical research.

There’s more to research ethics. What else can you think of to add to the list?

6 thoughts on “Research Ethics & Subject Agreement

  1. If you are researching involving children you must ask them if they want to be involved. If they don’t want to you must not involve them. In addition, if they consent then they change their minds, they should be allowed to drop out without having to provide an explanation.
    Parents need to be thoroughly informed about any research you do with their children.
    If in doubt, ask a professional educational researcher, better still work alongside them.


  2. Thank you for this. Very useful.

    Speaking as a scientist I’d add that tell your subjects that may be in the control group. This may not be relevant to educational research but your blog may be read by people engaged in research which has a control group too.

    Asking and inform in parents is very important. I was asked to give consent to my child taking part in a research project. I was uneasy but the researchers answered all my queries. I was then happy to let my child participate.


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