Define research ethics.

Case 1

Roger Thompson had recently spent eighteen months in Melanesia with the Grand Lake people. When he was invited to contribute a chapter to a colleague’s book on myth, Roger decided to discuss one of the Grand Lake myths about the origin of certain magical powers. The story would illustrate a point that he wished to make about the authority of the shaman in the lives of the people.

After carefully translating the myth, Roger reviewed his field notes to check a few details. As he was turning the pages of his notebook, he discovered that two of them were stuck together. When he separated them, he found that the second page, which had been concealed by the first, contained a few short notes describing how he had come to record the myth, the details of which he had forgotten. According to his notes, he had persuaded the leading shaman in the village to recount the myth, provided that Roger promised never to reveal it to anyone else. Suddenly, Roger wondered whether he was violating a confidence by contributing a discussion of this myth to his colleague’s book. What should he do?

Case 2

The research protocol for a study of a drug on hypertension requires the administration of the drug at different doses to fifty laboratory mice, with chemical and behavioral tests to determine toxic effects. Tom has almost finished the experiment for Dr. Q. He has only five mice left to test; however, he really wants to finish his work in time to go to Florida on spring break with his friends, who are leaving that night. He has injected the drug in all fifty mice but has not completed all of the tests. He therefore decides to extrapolate from the forty-five completed results to produce the five additional results.

Case 3

Dr. T has just discovers a mathematical error in a paper that has been accepted for publication in a journal. The error does not affect the overall results of his research, but it is potentially misleading. The journal has just gone to press, so it is too late to catch the error before it appears in print. To avoid embarrassment, Dr. T decides to ignore the error.

Case 4

Dr. Wexford is the principal investigator of a large epidemiological study on the health of five thousand agricultural workers. She has an impressive dataset that includes information on demographics, environmental exposures, diet, genetics, and various disease outcomes such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease (PD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She has just published a paper on the relationship between pesticide exposure and PD in a prestigious journal. She is planning to publish many other papers from her dataset. She receives a request from another research team that wants access to her complete dataset. The team is interested in examining the relationship between pesticide exposure and skin cancer. Dr. Wexford is planning to conduct a study on this topic.

Dr. Wexford faces a difficult choice. On the one hand, the ethical norm of openness obliges her to share data with the other research team. Her funding agency may also have rules that obligate her to share data. On the other hand, if she shares data with the other team, it may publish results that she is planning to publish, thus depriving her (and her team) of recognition and priority. It seems that there are good arguments on both sides of this issue, and Dr. Wexford needs to take some time to think about what she should do. One possible option is to share data, provided that the investigators sign a data use agreement. The agreement could define allowable uses of the data, publication plans, authorship, etc.

Source: Smithsonian Institution and National Institute on Science and Health Services

In a minimum of 300 words, post to the Discussion Area your responses to the following:

  • Define research ethics.
  • On the basis of the case you selected, discuss the ethical issues present.
  • Explain the pitfalls that could occur if the problem is not addressed.
  • Discuss how you would address the problem if you were the manager, dissertation chair, doctoral research mentor, or supervisor of the person involved in the case you selected.
  • Use at least one scholarly citation and cite the sources in the body of your work using APA standards.
  • Prepare a reference list.

Support your rationale and analysis by using at least two resources from professional literature in your response.  (Case Studies)

This module taught you about ethical and political issues of applied research and discussed the components of good and unsuccessful proposals. Using your textbook, the Argosy University online library resources, and other scholarly sources, discuss how you would assess one of the ethical cases listed below.

Case 1

Roger Thompson had recently spent eighteen months in Melanesia with the Grand Lake people. When he was invited to contribute a chapter to a colleague’s book on myth, Roger decided to discuss one of the Grand Lake myths about the origin of certain magical powers. The story would illustrate a point that he wished to make about the authority of the shaman in the lives of the people.

After carefully translating the myth, Roger reviewed his field notes to check a few details. As he was turning the pages of his notebook, he discovered that two of them were stuck together. When he separated them, he found that the second page, which had been concealed by the first, contained a few short notes describing how he had come to record the myth, the details of which he had forgotten. According to his notes, he had persuaded the leading shaman in the village to recount the myth, provided that Roger promised never to reveal it to anyone else. Suddenly, Roger wondered whether he was violating a confidence by contributing a discussion of this myth to his colleague’s book. What should he do?

Case 2

The research protocol for a study of a drug on hypertension requires the administration of the drug at different doses to fifty laboratory mice, with chemical and behavioral tests to determine toxic effects. Tom has almost finished the experiment for Dr. Q. He has only five mice left to test; however, he really wants to finish his work in time to go to Florida on spring break with his friends, who are leaving that night. He has injected the drug in all fifty mice but has not completed all of the tests. He therefore decides to extrapolate from the forty-five completed results to produce the five additional results.

Case 3

Dr. T has just discovers a mathematical error in a paper that has been accepted for publication in a journal. The error does not affect the overall results of his research, but it is potentially misleading. The journal has just gone to press, so it is too late to catch the error before it appears in print. To avoid embarrassment, Dr. T decides to ignore the error.

Case 4

Dr. Wexford is the principal investigator of a large epidemiological study on the health of five thousand agricultural workers. She has an impressive dataset that includes information on demographics, environmental exposures, diet, genetics, and various disease outcomes such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease (PD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She has just published a paper on the relationship between pesticide exposure and PD in a prestigious journal. She is planning to publish many other papers from her dataset. She receives a request from another research team that wants access to her complete dataset. The team is interested in examining the relationship between pesticide exposure and skin cancer. Dr. Wexford is planning to conduct a study on this topic.

Dr. Wexford faces a difficult choice. On the one hand, the ethical norm of openness obliges her to share data with the other research team. Her funding agency may also have rules that obligate her to share data. On the other hand, if she shares data with the other team, it may publish results that she is planning to publish, thus depriving her (and her team) of recognition and priority. It seems that there are good arguments on both sides of this issue, and Dr. Wexford needs to take some time to think about what she should do. One possible option is to share data, provided that the investigators sign a data use agreement. The agreement could define allowable uses of the data, publication plans, authorship, etc.

Source: Smithsonian Institution and National Institute on Science and Health Services

In a minimum of 300 words, post to the Discussion Area your responses to the following:

  • Define research ethics.
  • On the basis of the case you selected, discuss the ethical issues present.
  • Explain the pitfalls that could occur if the problem is not addressed.
  • Discuss how you would address the problem if you were the manager, dissertation chair, doctoral research mentor, or supervisor of the person involved in the case you selected.
  • Use at least one scholarly citation and cite the sources in the body of your work using APA standards.

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