As mentioned earlier, ethical concerns in research affect not only how studies are conducted, but also what people study and how they test their hypotheses. For example, let’s look at two different types of experiments that could be used to determine if chocolate is addictive. The first would be studying whether or not someone can stay awake after eating a bar of chocolate.
The researcher would have to take into account potential ethical issues when conducting this experiment. They might have to ensure that participants don’t suffer from hunger as a result of being given extra food, and they must make sure that none of them feel sick due to whatever chemical was in the chocolate (or sugar).
Another possible experiment would be looking into why some people enjoy chocolate more than others do. There may be things like flavor preference, perception of taste, and/or perception of reward depending on who you ask. If researchers wanted to avoid moral dilemments by testing for addiction, then they would need to check if there were changes in levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the brain.
However, there are certain limitations to doing this kind of research because it could potentially harm your participant. Not everyone enjoys chocolate or eats enough of it to produce an adequate amount of neurotransmitter data, so there would be a limited number of individuals involved in the experiment.
Negative impact of ethical concerns
There are many ways that ethics play a role in scientific research, but one major area is how much concern people have for other individuals or groups related to the conducted experiments. These issues can be anything from whether or not an individual will suffer lasting health consequences due to partaking in an experiment, to whether or not an animal rights organization would sue a company because of something they learned about their products while filming there.
These types of ethical questions can actually hurt your business in the long run. This is because researchers often rely on participation in studies to gather data, as well as vendors who agree to work with you after learning about your product.
If someone has moral objections to what you are doing, then they may choose not to work with you, which could cost you money! Also, if people learn about bad side effects of a drug or medical device, it might scare them away from trying it, even though they need it.
That would be very damaging for your business, since they might go somewhere else for help.
Steps scientists can take to address ethical concerns
As mentioned before, addressing ethical issues in research is important to keep the work relevant and valuable. There are some things you can do to mitigate this impact, however. Here are some steps that you can implement into your career as an academic researcher!
Step 1: Become Familiar with The Principles of Ethics For Scientists
As we have discussed before, being an ethically sound scientist means more than just following certain procedures for doing experiments. You must also be aware of the underlying ethics principles that govern all areas of scientific research.
There are many different sets of ethics principles, but there are two main ones that most people focus on when it comes to experimental research. These are called the principle of beneficence and the principle of non-maleficence.
The principle of beneficence says that researchers should always try to do good by experimenting on other living organisms or taking materials from nature to see if they can improve peoples’ health. This includes testing drugs and techniques on healthy individuals and not limiting access to treatments because of cost.
By contrast, the principle of non-maleficence states that science cannot cause harm to humans or the natural world. Researchers therefore have a moral obligation to make sure their studies don’t threaten anyone’s health or wellbeing or contribute to environmental destruction.
Speak with your supervisor
As a PhD student, you will be asked to do research that may or may not have an ethical component. This is especially true in the early stages of your career when you are just learning how to do academic work.
At this stage there are many different things you can be doing as a researcher. You could be studying diet effects on disease, conducting clinical trials for new drugs, investigating social issues related to science (like sexism and harassment), or even designing technology used for research purposes.
All of these areas contain an element of ethics because they involve applying well-defined rules to situations where human life or death is involved. For example, studies involving humans should be done after careful consideration and with proper consent.
If you feel uncomfortable carrying out an experiment due to potential harm to participants, then you need to talk to your supervisors about it. They can either ask you to change the project, find another one, or give you permission to leave the field until you’re more comfortable.
Be familiar with all procedures
As mentioned before, research ethics come down to two main concepts– informed consent and confidentiality. Both of these apply not only to participants you are studying, but also to your researchers!
Informed consent means making sure that everyone participating in a study understands what is being done and why it is necessary. It also means getting their permission to participate in the experiment or survey. This process should be repeated multiple times for different studies!
Confidentiality refers to keeping information about the participant and the study private from people who do not need to know. This includes other professors, students, and members of the community where they live and work.
When doing scientific research, there will always be individuals or groups of people who find out about it.
Keep notes of all procedures
As mentioned before, research ethics come down to ensuring that participants in scientific studies are informed about the study and give their consent to participate. Beyond this, there are several other ethical issues that arise from conducting research.
One such issue is how researchers keep track of what happens to each participant after they have completed the study. It is important to note here that not only does it cost money to conduct research, but also protecting individual identities can be very expensive as well.
Researchers must be careful to maintain confidentiality at every step of the process, especially when asking for samples or taking medical history information. This way, people do not feel uncomfortable giving their answers or requiring tests and treatments.
Another big part of keeping records safe is establishing appropriate back up systems. For example, many scientists use an online platform to store personal data. These sites make sure that no one can access your info even if your computer or phone dies, which helps protect your privacy.
Get a mentor
As mentioned before, ethical concerns in research affect not only you as an individual, but also the people around you that will be involved in the study.
As a student researcher, your success depends heavily on having proper mentorship.
You must establish strong relationships with other researchers, department members, faculty, and past graduate students to make progress towards your academic goals.
These individuals can help you by giving advice, supporting you professionally, or even serving as a collaborator.
They may even keep up-to-date records of their work so you can look through it for ideas or resources. All of these things are valuable pieces of the research puzzle!
By having appropriate mentors, you’ll be much more likely to succeed than without them. It is important to value others’ knowledge and time, while at the same time developing yours. — Sara Middleton, Student Researcher
Good mentors develop rapport with their protégés outside of business dealings, such as through social activities or informal talks. They should seek out opportunities to connect with you, instead of being done by you.
Match your ideal mentor to match your career aspirations and find someone who knows how you want to advance your career.
Get a team
As we have seen, ethical issues can directly affect what types of research is allowed to be done, who can do it, and where you are able to do it. These factors all play an important role in how well our society functions and how well scientists conduct their work.
As such, there are several ways that people can address these ethics concerns by becoming part of a team that deals with ethically questionable studies or areas. For example, social workers deal with questions about mental health, so if you’re passionate about this area then become a career counselor!
Or perhaps someone is studying obesity, so instead of just criticizing the study design or findings, try finding solutions for weight loss. Or maybe researchers are looking at food additives, so find one that may help prevent disease and use your skills as a nutritionist to promote healthy eating.
These kinds of teams exist because individuals with different specializations work together to solve problems. And when they do that, not only does it make them feel good, but it also helps others.
As we have discussed, ethical concerns can affect how research is conducted and what variables are included in studies. This affects the conclusions that are drawn from those studies as well as which areas of research get shut down completely.
By having clear rules about ethics, we can be confident that experiments will be carried out ethically. We also want to make sure that participants know they will only participate if it is okay, not forced into doing so.
This way, their decisions to take part or not are voluntary, and they feel safe in deciding this. It also helps us to draw valid conclusions when researching.