Posted: March 29th, 2022

Ethical Standards and Scientific Research

Scientific research facilitates acquisition of true knowledge, whose highest level is being able to examine scientific issues (Glickman 2009). If knowledge constitutes a universal human property thus greatly impacting overall societal development and wellbeing, the key goal of science will clearly be the truth. Moreover, science’s credibility with the masses is reliant on upholding the highest standards of ethicality when conducting research. Sticking to such guidelines helps prevent deviation from acceptable ethical practices in research, besides facilitating the prevention of acute deviations which are considered misconduct on the part of the researcher (Baumrind, 1971). Researcher misconduct implies including untruths, distortions, or breach of copyright, which include credential misrepresentation, within research proposals, performance, reviews, and result reporting (Kruk, 2013).


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The foremost step of a research project is to structure what and how to draft a report which would make the ideal scientific manuscript, as the report constitutes the chief means of communicating one’s findings with peers. All elements of the manuscript ought to be well-defined, with the study problem succinctly and comprehensibly presented, following scientifically established practices for developing rational, scientific thought (Kruk, 2013).


When doing so, the format outlined below will be followed, for ensuring the research integrates every standard, relevant element (Christensen 2011):


Title: All research works require an interesting title which is relevant to the research problem being pursued.


Therefore, I will need to come up with a clear, well-written project title which offers a fairly comprehensive explanation of the matter under study. The title of the report will have to encompass species being experimented upon, type of experiment, and a concise indication of outcomes gleaned.


Abstract: In this section, I will offer a concise, though comprehensive, outline of the doctoral paper. The section will cover a concise statement of study purpose, methodologies used, outcomes, and conclusions.


Introduction: In this section, I will present the study’s background information as well as a statement describing the study’s hypothesis. Additionally, I will outline its conceptual background, besides indicating the significance of the project, stating a definite research problem, and putting forward a definite hypothesis for testing.


Literature Review: The main component of my study will involve a review of academic papers, surveys, books, and all other relevant resources which will contribute to the research topic, field, theory used, etc. In doing so, I will be able to adequately offer a description, outline, and critical assessment of those works relative to my study problem. The sources will be acquired from the World Wide Web, web-based libraries and library books.


Further, I will ensure that the design of my literature review section offers a synopsis of the sources scrutinized by me in the course of researching the subject of my study, in addition to demonstrating to readers the way the study fits within the context of a broader branch of learning. Lastly, I will attempt at creating interest among readers and convincing them of the significance of the study subject (Kruk, 2013).


Methods: This section of the paper will reveal the precise methodology of performance of the experiment. That is, I will explain distinct methods as well as the general experimental strategy employed. Lastly, I will take care to adopt procedures which are adequately understood from a scientific standpoint. I will take special care to ensure they don’t prove injurious to any human lives.


Results: In this part of the paper, the information gathered in the course of experimentation will be delineated. The section actually forms the core of the scientific essay. The major part of the information presented here will be in graphical or tabular form (Kruk, 2013).


Discussion: In this part of the paper, I will interpret the information gleaned and their relation to the research work. Here, I will indicate areas for improvement to take into consideration for future studies.


Acknowledgments: This section of the dissertation will involve a mention of the other individuals and institutions that have played a part in my research study. They include my research guide, the university, technical support staff, financiers of my research (which includes family members), and everybody else who has played a role in ensuring my project became successful (Lawson 1998).


Literature cited: This section will list out the sources cited all through the course of the paper. Furthermore, information will be provided on an array of other researches cited. APA citation style and referencing will be utilized for the purpose of this dissertation (Harriss & Atkinson 2013).


Subsequent to penning a draft based on the above structure, I will, under the guidance of my mentor, set out to collect all requisite material for preparing for the study (e.g., charts and tables, structures, and requisite apparatus) and identify the perfect experiment site (Emanuel 2000).


All through the course of my study, when writing out my dissertation manuscript, I will check for and abide by the ethical research standards described below:




It is a widely understood fact that any individual who presents another’s words, ideas or information, attributing their origin to themselves implicitly or explicitly, are perpetrating intellectual property theft and might be deemed to be guilty of what is termed as ‘plagiarism’ and, hence, research misconduct. Moreover, clearly, such misconduct is also applicable to the area of reviews and historical/ background and methodological parts of a research paper, in addition to original study findings or conclusions (Kruk, 2013).


I am also aware of the fact that any part of others’ dissertation manuscripts or research papers copied verbatim beyond phrases of 6-7 words ought to be indented or put in quotes and referenced appropriately to the source it is derived from (Baumrind, 1971).


For avoiding all forms of scientific misconduct which may serve to put a blemish on the quality of the study and my own image, the thesis will only encompass information I have individually gathered on the field and typed step-wise by me. This will assure me of the document’s legitimacy (Glickman 2009).


If any information has been gleaned from other academic texts, I will acknowledge them through appropriate citation of their works. Further, I will adopt stringent measures to ensure research assistants and members of the technical team don’t engage in information duplication (Glickman 2009).


Lastly, I intend to subject the dissertation manuscript to an anti-plagiarism detector for ensuring no duplication exists in the study and rectifying any duplication should it crop up. After all, a few errors may occur unintentionally.


Formal risk assessment


Current standards require all research works to develop and put forward formal risk evaluations, which are performed prior to the official commencement of a research effort. This is typically done by completing the relevant form in accordance with institutional guidelines. Further, a few sponsors like governmental divisions require risk evaluations for inclusion with proposals (Kruk, 2013).


Seeking the advice of research managers within one’s institution, research supervisors, or qualified coworkers who have earlier completed a risk evaluation form will prove helpful.


For the purpose of my study, I have come up with ethical questions as risk evaluation is no mere procedural obligation. It requires reflection on three major questions relative to the project planned: What are the ‘risks’ and ‘harms’ associated with the study? What are its likely advantages?


All scientific studies have associated harms, risks, advantages, and costs which must be evaluated for the following reasons (Kruk, 2013):


1) Evaluations will help me, my project sponsors, and reviewers to determine whether or not the study is actually worth it, besides how to make it less risky.


2) Such evaluations also aid potential research participants in undertaking informed decision-making with regard to participation in the study. Informed consent forms the legal mode of transfer of risk-taking responsibility from research scholar to research subject. It will be helpful to me to consider potential associated benefits and harms in the premature, planning phase of the research, when redesigning it for decreasing risks will remain fairly easy (Glickman 2009).


‘Harm’ is generally a vague and imperceptible aspect, made more complex through divergent views and estimations of researchers and study subjects (Harriss & Atkinson 2015).


The possibility of severe physical harm from clinical or scientific studies has resulted in justifiably stringent controls on these studies’ ethical procedures as against social researches which are mostly harmless when compared to scientific or clinical studies (Emanuel 2000). But those who review social researches’ ethics (either for financiers or as a member of an ethics committee) will probably disagree with this view. The probable harms and risks of social scientific research differ in their nature from the associated harms and risks of, for instance, a pharmaceutical trial (Kruk, 2013).


Lastly, for this study, I have collaborated with the State Health Department and my university’s risk evaluation unit for appropriately analyzing and evaluating potential study-related risks. Subsequently, best practices recommended will be adopted in the course of the study.


Data handling and reporting


Integrity of Data


Study outcome forgery and distortion are a grave form of misconduct. Thus, in the capacity of research scholar, it is my foremost duty to ensure I don’t include false statements or omit aspects which bring about distortions in the study record. At all times, I will ensure I don’t report any expected outcome not actually observed prior to report completion and presentation (Kruk, 2013).


For preserving precise information documentation to compare with subsequent findings or observations, I will, in the role of research, be obliged to maintain an explicit and comprehensive record of information obtained. The records will encompass adequate details for allowing for a study of the purpose underlying study replication, answering questions potentially arising from inadvertent mistakes or misinterpretations, affirming findings’ validity, and verifying records’ authenticity (Baumrind, 1971).


Deliberate study record elimination or not maintaining and producing records to support any given study report or publication that is questioned might be regarded as a circumstantial proof of misconduct (Glickman 2009).


Thus, I will invariably make sure primary sources of information are retained, including handwritten numbers/figures, questionnaire responses and other everyday records relevant to the study.


Authorship and Other Publication Issues


Study outcome publication constitutes a key means of informing scholastic circles of the study conducted and its outcomes; further, it allows others in the field to build on results reported. Indeed, it is my duty as researcher to ensure the findings of my study can be accessed by peers, in keeping with relevant publication standards (Kruk, 2013). Reported methodologies and information will be comprehensive enough to ensure future researchers are able to replicate outcomes. A timely, though not premature, publication will ensure avoidance of the risk of failure to subject all outcomes to appropriate internal corroboration or failure to adequately take every probable interpretation into account (Emanuel 2000).


Furthermore, I will ensure my research mentor has sufficient time to peruse my manuscript and offer remarks where needed prior to publishing it. Lastly, I will seek the university’s approval as well (Kruk, 2013).


Informed consent


Informed consent constitutes a key ethical challenge when carrying out research studies. That is, an individual chosen as a study subject intelligently, intentionally, and willingly provides explicit consent (Glickman 2009).


The principle of informed consent constitutes a way of safeguarding a research subject’s independence. According to Childress and Beauchamp, research participant autonomy refers to the capability of self-determination when taking action based on some individual plan. The principle of informed consent attempts at incorporating independent persons’ rights by means of self- determination. Furthermore, it attempts at preventing attacks on a person’s integrity and safeguarding individual genuineness and freedom. Indeed, a person may be able to take an informed, voluntary decision for taking part in a study only if he/she possesses adequate information pertaining to the study’s potential advantages and risks (Baumrind, 1971).


Thus, I will plan and create a form of informed consent and present it for review and approval to the state’s health department. This form of consent will subsequently be presented for completion to all persons displaying willingness to take part in the research a fortnight before the commencement of the project, allowing them to achieve relevant guidance and interpretation before they decide upon accepting or declining participation (Kruk, 2013). Such free, informed consent encompasses the research effort’s introduction, purpose, study methodology and an explanation of choice of study subjects (Christensen 2003). The consent form will also include a description of all possible physical distress or harm associated with participation, all potential breaches of participant privacy, and all potential risks of dignity, in addition to the means of compensating participants should any of the above events occur. Moreover, participants will be presented with information on the anticipated advantages to the branch of learning or to themselves by obtaining fresh knowledge. Lastly, I will carry out a session of a couple of hours with persons displaying readiness to participate to accord them additional research-related information to ensure proper consent is obtained from all participants (Glickman 2009).


Respect for anonymity and confidentiality


The subject of privacy and confidentiality is linked strongly to individuals’ beneficence rights, and respect for their reliability and dignity. According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), anonymity is guaranteed when the identity of the research participant may not be related to their responses. If researchers cannot guarantee anonymity, they must at least tackle the matter of confidentiality that may be defined as private information handling by research scholars for safeguarding participant identity. Levine claims confidentiality implies people are accorded the freedom to offer or hold back as many details as they desire. Hence, I will assume the responsibility of maintaining confidentiality which surpasses ordinary reliability (Kruk, 2013).


In keeping with the aforementioned facts, I will develop a coding system which will be utilized for identifying diverse study subjects, for guaranteeing their confidentiality as well as respecting their dignity (Glickman 2009).


But in immensely complicated or sensitive circumstances, or those involving highly susceptible subjects, a DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services)-issued Confidentiality Certificate will prove valuable to ensuring study subjects’ privacy, specifically in research works wherein the subjects and I might experience exposure to coerced legal information disclosure (Glickman 2009).


Mistakes and negligence


Scientific outcomes are intrinsically provisional. Scientific researchers may never be able to decisively verify their description of a few elements of the physical/natural world accurately. Thus, every scientific outcome has to be deemed to be error-prone (Kruk, 2013).


But some errors are chiefly a result of negligence, and capable of distorting the scientific study’s quality. Hence, I will need to demonstrate initiative and at least minimize these errors in the event I am unable to eliminate them entirely (Glickman 2009).


Besides errors stemming from neglect, they may also stem from human shortcomings. Scientists have to work within time constraints and lack access to a limitless number of resources. Even highly experienced and responsible scientists may err (Baumrind, 1971). But in the event such mistakes are discovered in the course of the study, I will make sure I bring them to light, preferably within the very same journal of publication of my research manuscript. After all, a researcher who makes prompt, honest acknowledgements of this sort seldom find themselves censured by their peers (Kruk, 2013).


This doesn’t mean I will intentionally allow errors to make their way into my manuscript, since it will first be presented before my mentor, editors, and a number of experts, thereby offering the appropriate space and avenue to identify errors, before presenting and publishing the research work (Glickman 2009).


Working with a mentor


I will always take care to maintain a relationship characterized by confidentiality, trust, and respect with my research mentor, as violations of confidentiality could mean irrevocable breakdown of the mentor-student relationship, which could prove tough to resolve and must, thus, be avoided (Kruk, 2013).


At the research’s commencement, one key matter to be addressed will be identification of elements that ought to be confidential, and require straightforward, open discussion of what’s acceptable or unacceptable. If an entity believes disclosure of confidential data is warranted, it will first have to be discussed with other relevant parties for acquiring consent beforehand. But in the event of a violation of confidentiality and the need for preservation of the relationship in spite of the violation, I will attempt at correcting the situation by meeting up with the mentor. In the event of a lack of consensus, I will request the department’s aid in solving the problem (Kruk, 2013).


I will discuss any issues that arise with my research mentor openly, and attempt at coming up with measures for preventing similar situations from arising again. Avoiding intentionality is a must, and I will attempt at rebuilding the relationship by means of negotiations and communication. This process of rebuilding can only be successful if both parties desire to sustain the mentor-student relationship (Glickman 2009).


In addition, I will exercise increased diligence when it comes to the recognition and embracing of wisdom, knowledge, and developmental assistance offered by my research mentor. I will also be careful when it comes to the mentor-student relationship’s boundaries, as breach of boundaries can end up making both parties uncomfortable and jeopardizing the relationship. Lastly, it will be crucial to practice caution when making requests from one another in the course of the research project, to ensure no party is prone to pleasing the other (Kruk, 2013).


A number of instances have been reported of mentors unconsciously exploiting their authority and making their pupil assume the responsibility of completing their (i.e., the mentor’s) tasks. Besides giving rise to feelings of bitterness and fear among mentees, this could also add to mentees’ workload, thereby delaying their progress in their personal career development. For preventing this issue, my mentor and I will, prior to commencing the study, discuss the matter of boundaries to be established in the mentor-mentee relationship. But one fact to bear in mind at this point is that different individuals hold different views regarding such boundaries (Glickman 2009). For example, may mentors be allowed to request the mentee to give talks they are required to give? Thus, the need arises to explicitly delineate these boundaries, although, in certain areas, how far boundaries are breached might not be clear. Thus, I will, at all times, prepare myself to deal with eventualities and avoid issues that could hinder my project completion. Moreover, it will be helpful for me to converse with a colleague or the mentor of a colleague and seek their views on the subject if, at any point, I feel that my mentor is overstepping boundaries established (Christensen 2003). When doing so, I will acknowledge my mentor’s experiences and capabilities, thereby meticulously framing feedbacks from colleagues or their mentors (Emanuel 2000).


In conclusion, ethical quandaries, ambiguousness with regard to decision-making, and a conflict of values have consistently been apparent within the review of literature on scientific studies (Glickman 2009). Due to ambiguity of ethical standards, research scholars need to be aware of potential problems and devise a sound framework for handling human rights-related issues (Reich, 1995). This proves critical to reconciling oneself to the problem of researcher values in relation to individual rights as against societal interests. Rules, regulations, ethics bodies, and professional codes may offer a certain amount of guidance, though the ultimate determinant of performing research is performed depends on the individual researcher’s ethical compass and value system (Baumrind, 1971).


For preparing the research scholars of the future, the subject of research ethics ought to be accorded special attention within the scientific domain. Any ensuing uncertainties and criticisms ought to be encouraged and not suppressed. My suggestion is that for liberating the research field from what may be described as a “technocratic impasse”, research ethics ought to be interpreted, in broad terms, as a field of novel ideas capable of altering professional hierarchies, questioning the abnormality of concepts, and creating an opportunity for cross-disciplinary discussion (Kruk, 2013).


The above guideline on ethical performance of a research project from its outset to its culmination will contribute greatly to my study’s success, and that of the dissertation manuscript.










Baumrind, D. (1971). Principles of ethical conduct in the treatment of subjects: Reaction to the draft report of the Committee on Ethical Standards in Psychological Research. American Psychologist, 26(10), 887.


Christensen, L. B., Johnson, B., Turner, L. A., & Christensen, L. B. (2011). Research methods, design, and analysis.


Emanuel, E. J., Wendler, D., & Grady, C. (2000). What makes clinical research ethical?. Jama, 283(20), 2701-2711.


Glickman, S. W., McHutchison, J. G., Peterson, E. D., Cairns, C. B., Harrington, R. A., Califf, R. M., & Schulman, K. A. (2009). Ethical and scientific implications of the globalization of clinical research.


Harriss, D. J., & Atkinson, G. (2013). Ethical standards in sport and exercise science research: 2014 update·. International journal of sports medicine, 34(12), 1025-1028.


Harriss, D. J., & Atkinson, G. (2015). Ethical standards in sport and exercise science research: 2016 update. Int J Sports Med, 36(14), 1121-1124.


Kruk, J. (2013). Good scientific practice and ethical principles in scientific research and higher education. Central European Journal of Sport Sciences and Medicine, 1(1), 25-29.


Lawson, D. H., Sherman, V., & Hollowell, J. (1998). The General Practice Research Database. Scientific and Ethical Advisory Group. QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians, 91(6), 445-452.


Reich, W. T. (1995). Encyclopedia of.

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